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Solar Foundations Design: Report Summary

By June 22, 2021April 24th, 2023Reports, Solar Foundation Design

Risk management is integral to the success of your next solar project through informed decision-making from start to finish. The following report, Solar Foundations in the Evolution of Renewable Energy Market, covers the common pitfalls in solar project design and construction and lays out a set of best practices developed through PRI Engineering’s extensive experience on ground-mount solar projects in North America and the Caribbean.

Key Takeaways

  • Engineers trained in cold weather considerations and extreme seasonal changes add value to projects across North America.
  • Foundation optimization is a source of untapped cost-savings and provides outsized value for the investment size.
  • Let the site determine the foundation design and extent of the engineering scope of work.
  • Focus on communication strategies to support real-time adjustments during production load testing.
  • Successful installation is supported through a Quality Assurance program with a Foundation Engineer of Record.

We analyze and compare types of foundations and their performance in a range of geological and climatic scenarios to inform your decision during the design stage. In addition, we highlight areas of risk and mitigation strategies available through value-added geotechnical investigation and engineering support. We end with a few case studies that exemplify (or not) the principles we discussed.

The full report can be downloaded here in pdf format

Solar Racking Foundation Design

Top Considerations for Solar Project Design

  • Climate Considerations
  • Project Scale Considerations
  • Subsurface Conditions
  • Types of Foundations

Installation and Construction

Top Considerations for Installation and Construction

  • Pre-production Load Testing
  • Production Load Testing
  • Construction Challenges
  • Remedial Action “The Remaining 15%”

Case Studies

View details of solar foundation design case studies executed by PRI Engineering. To read the whole report, download the pdf »

Montana Solar Project

Size: 5 MWDC
Location: Montana First Nations, Alberta
Customer: GP Joule
Racking System: GP Joule Fixed Phlegon
Foundation: Driven 141 mm/114 mm OD 4.0 m embedment

Site 601

Size: 600 kWDC
Location: Carp, Ontario
Customer: Abundant Solar Energy
Racking System: Polar PRU
Foundation: 141 mm OD bedrock micropiles
141 mm OD helical pile with 762 mm helical blade

State Route 122A

Size: 6.8 MWDC
Location: Constable, New York
Customer: OYA Solar
Racking System: AXSUS Sol-X Tracker
Foundation: 89 mm OD Ground Screws

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