The Answer to Desert Sands

Desert sand locations are often some of the best Solar Farm sites due to their dry, radiant climates. The high costs and risks associated with the foundations for these sites however may deter developers.

Existing foundation systems generally resort to slow, heavy, expensive non-sustainable solutions. This is due to the minimal load capacities found within low to medium strength sands, a prevalence of shallow rock in some areas, and even the possibility of high acid levels at the interface between the sand and the rock.

A popular, existing solution for these types of sites is embedding steel solar array posts into large, deeply drilled holes that are filled with concrete or chemically hardened sand. This process must deal with the issues associated to collapsing sands and over-breaks during bore hole drilling and may still require pre-drilling through rock layers.

Another expensive method is driven steel beams that can become very deep and may also require pre-drilling to find adequate skin friction depth for loads. Thick wall steel sections are also needed to resist high level/long kNm bending moments from laterally applied load forces.

We found this problem to be an interesting structural and geotechnical challenge, so we decided to overcome it by designing and engineering a new, innovative product.

Our patented design increases the strength of the soil around the pile during installation for high vertical load capacities at shallow depths, while significantly increasing lateral and torsion load capacities.

We call this product, the Solar X Wing Pile. This driven single piece, fully galvanized steel pile features soil compression cupping plates positioned in the pile’s shaft and appropriately sized lateral bracing wings that are fixed onto the beam.

The cupping plates gather and harden the soil around the lower section of the pile while being installed for significantly increased vertical load capacity. The bracing wings mobilise large areas of sand around the upper part of the pile for resisting high level moment loads from laterally applied forces.

The Solar X Wing Piles have had numerous vertical and lateral load tests conducted in loose to medium dense sands, achieving up to 300% above the required serviceable loads, therefore able to support even the largest array structures.

This new pile’s shallow, driven design eliminates the need for concrete or drilling. Due to these reasons, both the supply and installation costs of the Solar X Wing Pile are substantially lower than the aforementioned and other existing methods.

Solar Farm projects that are planned in areas such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia or other parts of the World with similar sand conditions, would benefit significantly from this revolutionary new piling product in cost, time and increased pile performance.

If you would like to read more about how Solar Pile International can help Solar Farm developers, EPC’s and array suppliers, visit our work with us or contact us today.

Written by Solar Pile International.

Published 21/1/2019

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