RPCS, GenPro Energy Solutions and the City of Atkinson, Nebraska, have partnered to build a 209-kW solar array on a city-owned site formerly used for fill—a place where soil, trees and debris were brought then covered with dirt.
Due to the nature of the site, project construction initially saw particular challenges. Embedment depths increased to 30 ft., which is three times the norm for proper installation of the foundation. Using longer than normal I-beams would have added significant costs for construction and material, and loose soil and debris could cause refusal of the post for a regular piledriver.
Atkinson wanted a tracked system that could provide enough power to offset the energy consumption of their Water Treatment Plant.
GenPro Energy, who specializes in municipal solar development throughout the Midwest, brought the design and custom energy solution integration to the project, while RPCS solved the project’s mounting engineering issue.
“This project is a great example of how teamwork, engineering and innovative solutions can help overcome site challenges and result in the most efficient design for all parties involved,” said Dylan Wraga, RPCS sales director. “GenPro’s value engineering, Array’s superior grade tolerance and TerraSmart’s unique foundation posts all allowed for a system that will maximize power production for the City of Atkinson. There were underground challenges that TerraSmart’s [ground screw] solution was well suited to, and combined with Array’s reliable architecture this system will be producing clean power for many years to come.”
The site features DuraTrack HZ v3 single-axis solar trackers by Array Technologies, supplied by RPCS. Array’s tracking technology ensures up to a 20 to 25% increase in energy production over fixed-tilt systems.
It uses TerraSmart’s ground screw foundation posts, a seamless solution to the challenging nature of the site’s subsurface conditions. The ground screws resist uplift in loose soil and can drill into debris, reducing upfront construction costs and eliminating subsurface risks.
“It is exciting to come up with a unique solution for a site that has an ideal location in relation to the facility we’re looking to power,” said Molly Brown, VP of energy production at GenPro. “The ability to use Array trackers with TerraSmart ground screws will allow us to maximize production on what would normally be considered a difficult site. It’s a very exciting project to be a part of.”
News item from RPCS