Solar Panel Foundations and the power of solar energy (CASE: Solar Park, Orimattila, Finland)

The future is energy, or, more to the point, given its current efficiency and low cost, solar energy. As of 2013, solar energy entered through a surge of acceptance.

As of right now, solar energy is a booming business and all indicators and metrics point to the fact that it’s not going to slow down. This is the main reason why it’s important to not only invest in the platform but devote key assistance to its implementation, primarily it’s foundation and the critical structures that will protect your solar power equipment. At  PAALUPISTE we built and construct personalized solar panel foundations unique to the client’s requirements and specifications. 

Solar panel with screw piles

According to the World Meteorological Organization, 2013 was a disastrous time for our environment; pollution had skyrocketed so fast that it had broken 30 years of records. At Paalupiste we recognized this problem and understood the challenges inherent in the implementation of key technology required to alleviate it. That’s why we’ve dedicated a branch of our team dedicated to the design essential components needed for the infrastructure of solar panels. Innovative solutions for solar panel groundwork.  

The Value Of Solar In today’s Market

As of 2018 the global solar energy market was valued at over $52.5 billion dollars. A projection, taking into account current trends, estimated to $223.3 billion dollar by the year 2026. That is a compounded annual growth rate (CARG) of about $20.5%. And the industry’s standards and suppliers are lagging behind. That’s why Paalupiste is hungry to take the lead in solar panel support and solar array infrastructure.

Why Invest in Solar Energy today?

screwpiles are perfeckt for solar panels

The number one cause is that the typical return for an investment (ROI) in solar energy is about 6%. A business can see huge upswing in their button line and their market value by installing a solar panel. Corporations, big or small, can become more efficient and environmentally friendly by switching part of their supply chain and logistics to this renewable energy source. They can also improve their brand image with a proper public relations deployment focusing on their new environmentally conscious practices.

Solar energy is a growing, viable and affordable way to optimize your brand and bring down costs. Especially now:

  • Prices of PV panels have dropped more than 80% since 2013. 
  • The efficiency of solar panels has improved to over 25% since their inception and that number keeps growing yearly.
  • China, the biggest carbon contributor in the world, is now making strides in harnessing clean energy. Other countries of that region are following the example. 

And industries aren’t just harnessing solar power for their own operational practices, they are also leasing the energy and land back to the government or other private citizens

The main challenge of solar farms and how Paalupiste can help

solar panel field with screw pilesStill the majority of cost, research as shown, comes from faulty assessments and subpar hardware. Over 58% of solar panels and farms have to be reconditioned once installed, and 15% have to beremoved and relocated on account of different factors constructors didn’t take into account.

Technology might be at the vanguard of this evolution but it still has to deal with human error and inadequate logistical analysis. 

The main problem of Solar Panel Installation and one of the most unexpected challenges and a persistent obstacle  that seems to catch everyone off-guard is securing and stabilizing the panels. Of not only installing adequate support with specialized piling but implementing an ideal solar panel platform. These panels are at the mercy of the elements.

Keeping these pieces rooted into the ground is critical. That’s why the need for a universally feasible and scalable solution became a determinant factor in the solar industry’s viable longevity.

We were contacted by Viking Solution in autumn 2020. Viking came to us for assessment and primarily for a solid foundation to hold their panels. Nonetheless, as the project progressed and logistical factors became apparent we ended up delivering them a Paalupiste´s own solar panel rack along with screw piles. This rack saves time and expenses. The rack is a strong, durable and low maintenance structure that could be scaled up for up to 50 panels if needed. The rack can be dismantled quickly while offering a great tolerance for piles.

We also manufactured, given their specifications, their requirements, and the ecosystem in which the panels would be installed specially produced helical piles. All the piles were crafted from 76.1 x4mm tube, steel grade S420 and hot dip galvanized according ISO1461.

The area was a clay basin. The heavily packed clay soil presented numerous obstacles to overcome, natural disadvantages that the client had to meet.

As a final precaution, taking into account the fauna of the area and security issues, we also installed a steel mesh fence around the solar power park. Securing the structure with various 60.3×2.9mm Piles every 3meters protecting the client’s investment as much as possible.

The Benefits of Helical Piles in Solar Panel Support

solar screw pilesThe less material employed in the construction the better. Helical piles generate their load capability through the bearings on the helix plates. This translates to the fact that they don’tneed to be as long as driven piles. At the bottom line of expense reports, this means they are easier to install and much more affordable than concrete or hammered piles.

A helical pile is essentially a long pipe with one or more helices. They are screwed into the ground and attached to whatever you want to keep secure, in this case, solar panels. Unlike others of their kind, helical piles can withstand shifting soil, wind uplift

Solar arrays have a limited lifespan. Photovoltaic panels can last from 25 to 30 years in the field. This doesn’t mean the panels will stop producing energy; it just means – like your cellphone’s battery after years of use – that energy production will decrease beyond what the manufacturer considers optimal. Degradation rates vary, premium panels have a 0.3% rate per year for example. Still, sooner or later, you will have to replace your array. Helical piles can be “unscrewed” from the ground rather easily and recycled. 

Mobility was also a key factor when we decided to employ Helical piles in Viking’s project. What the client might want today, isn’t necessarily what he will want in a year or 10 or even 20. Sensibilities and taste changes, that is why having a foundation that can be relocated without too much work is essential in the long run.

Helical piles offer an affordable, sturdy and incredible efficient solution to solar panel installations.


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