There are solar ground-mount solutions for any type of soil

Ground screws

Ground screws work similarly to helical piles, also creating a cone of soil that resists upward tension. The ground screw’s difference in design lies in its threaded end that leads to a point, much like in carpenter screws. Turnkey solar-racking company TerraSmart fabricates and installs ground screws of varying sizes to adapt to different soil types.

To install a ground screw in dense soils, contractors core a pilot hole, set the screw inside and drive the mount into the ground using a rotary hydraulic drive or proprietary machinery. In medium-dense to loose soils, ground screws can be driven directly into the ground.

These mounts were built to work in rocky landscapes. The pointed, threaded end is outfitted with a forged chisel-tip that is able to push smaller rocks aside, and installers can even drill a starting hole into larger stones to rotate the ground screw directly into the ledge.

“Ground screws work in a wide range of soils and it comes down to how you design the ground screw to accommodate where you’re trying to install into,” said Richard Van Fleet, director project operations at TerraSmart. “On a looser site, you might have a longer or wider ground screw vs. a rocky site. We can accommodate those different soil conditions with the design of the ground screw itself.”

This mounting solution has a smaller post surface area similar to helical piles but comes in longer post lengths to ensure proper embedment depth. A set of racking can attach to ground screws of various lengths, keeping panels level while adjusting to varying topography.