While pile driving is typically associated with extensive commercial, civil, or industrial applications, in recent years, the demand for nimble pile driving equipment suited for solar pile driving has increased. In most cases, traditional pile driving rigs are too large for solar fields, which have site restrictions, including low clearances and narrow corridors. Solar panel fields are being installed across the nation, and pile driving rigs tailored to their unique demands are among the most popular pieces of equipment on the market.
Air hammers, vibratory hammers, and traditional pile driving rigs are often too powerful for solar pile driving projects, but their primary drawback is the lack of accuracy. Ground mount solar projects are precisely planned and engineered to efficiently harness the power of the sun and convert it into renewable energy.
Specialized Solar Pile Driving Rig vs. Traditional Pile Driving Rigs
Because of the scale and scope of solar pile driving projects, operators need efficient equipment that can install piles quickly, accurately, and over a significant tract of land and in varying conditions. Operators can get the job done right this first time with precision pile driving equipment that is powered by the latest technology.
Solar pile driving projects present unique challenges that traditional pile driving equipment may not be suited to handle.
GPS Positioning Provides Precise Accuracy
While traditional pile driving rigs require accuracy and bearing capacity, solar pile projects require another level of precision. Advanced GPS technology enables these newer rigs to deliver highly accurate tolerances. Solar pile driving projects typically require an accuracy tolerance of 0.5° or less.
Ground mount solar fields rely on numerous rows of panels that are precisely planned to maximize their exposure to the sun throughout the day. When installing the piles that these panels are mounted to, traditional rigs may be too large to navigate these rows and provide piles that are driven to specific tolerances and angles. Also, smaller, more agile pile driving equipment is designed to fit the narrow clearances associated with solar pile driving job sites.
As solar power becomes one of the most popular renewable sources of energy, many pile rig operators are exploring their equipment options to provide a competitive bid while meeting the specific demands of installing ground mount solar piles.
New models of piling rigs are designed to navigate tight corridors without damaging installed piles and can accommodate low clearances.
HMC STR20 over Vermeer PD-10
Two of the most popular ground mount solar pile driving rigs on the market today are the HMC STR20 and the Vermeer PD10. The HMC self-contained track rig series, including the STR20, have become recognized across the industry for their agility, versatility, technology, and flexibility. The HMC series is also a compact solution that is tailored to ground mount solar pile driving projects.
Because solar arrays often contain hundreds of thousands of driven piles, operators need machines that can work quickly and accurately and hammer up to 200 piles daily. The STR series is capable of accurately driving this considerable amount of pile reliably to avoid costly downtime and equipment malfunction or breakdown.
Both the PD-10 and STR20 feature GPS technology to confirm pile position, though the higher driving force and capability to drive taller piles makes the STR20 a more attractive option that can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete the job.
The STR20 also offers increased versatility and is truly an all-in-one piece of equipment. It can quickly change attachments and be used as a vibratory hammer, impact hammer, auger, and pile driver to offer a full range of functionality. The STR20 also features 360° rotation to provide another level of flexibility and performance. Its helical pile capabilities make it particularly well suited to solar piling projects without sacrificing power or performance.
Because the STR20 will automatically plumb and level, it allows operators to deliver next-level precision for solar piling projects. Another consideration is that many solar projects do not have comprehensive geotechnical reports due to the vast scope of the job site and can present the need for multiple pieces of equipment. The STR20 solves that problem and can handle a variety of soil conditions.
These rigs can be controlled remotely, and the onboard technology ensures that rig operators can guarantee accurately driven piles every time that meet the strict demands of solar engineering. Another attractive aspect of this rig is its compact 10’ transport height and that two units can fit on a single trailer. This reduces transportation costs and increases efficiency when multiple rigs are going to operate simultaneously to complete large solar piling projects.
Trust Us for Your Solar Pile Driving Needs
Because traditional piling projects do not require the same level of accuracy as solar projects, it is essential for contractors to utilize equipment that is specifically designed to meet these demands.
RPI Equipment has been providing rig operators with the best rental, purchase, and service options for over fifty years. We believe in transparency and communication, and our dedicated sales team can help you identify the right equipment for your next solar piling project. Contact us today to explore your options for cutting-edge pile driving equipment.