For the eco-conscious, having your own electricity source in the form of solar panels has been appealing for some years. But with the current fuel crisis, solar panels aren’t just the sustainable choice, many feel like they ae a wide long term choice as energy prices become increasingly unpredictable. And there has been a massive increase in the number of UK installations this year. But not everyone can install solar panels on their roof. Either because of the design or materials of the roof, because they have no loft, or because their house is too shaded. Ground anchoring provides a versatile alternative which enables the solar panels to be perfectly positioned to receive maximum solar generation. But how do you go about anchoring them?
How to Anchor Solar Panels in Your Garden with Screw Piles
What can you use to anchor solar panels?
There are a number of different ways to install solar panels in your garden. These include drilled shaft piles (AKA micropiles or caissons), driven piles, ground screws, and helical piles (AKA screw piles). Because screw piles require no excavation, cause minimal disturbance, and have very little environmental impact, they are one of the most popular methods currently available for anchoring solar panels. Screw piles can also be very cost-effective.
Why anchor your solar panels?
An often overlooked part of ground mounted solar panels is the tension load or “uplift” factor associated with strong wind and stormy weather that they can experience. Effectively the wind catches the panels and works to rip them out of the ground. This is why it is imperative that the engineering and construction of your ground mounted solar structure factors in the uplift forces at play. You should choose a foundation product that provides more than enough anchoring for your panels or risk seeing your Eco investment uprooted and blown away.
Where can you install screw piles for solar panels?
To get the best from your solar panels, you need to find a location with maximum light exposure. This means somewhere away from the shade of your house or overhanging trees. One of the reasons that screw piles are so popular for this form of installation is because they can be used in an array of ground conditions. So, unless you are intending to fit your solar panels over solid bedrock or in a ground littered with obstructions, you should have no problem installing screw piles. Even in sandy or waterlogged ground.
What is the process for installing screw piles?
Screw piles can be installed either by hand, with a handheld install machine or using excavators. Your preferred method will depend on your available space (can you accommodate a groundworks vehicle?), your budget, and the size of your installation. Hand installation is perfectly viable with the use of the correct tools, if you are working with a small number of panels.
How much space do you need to install screw piles for solar panels?
Because it can be managed manually, screw pile installation can be accomplished with minimal space. But if you want your solar panels to be cost-effective, the guidance is to install an array of panels that are at least 10kWp and your usage 10,000kWh minimum per year. This means that you will need a space of approximately 16.3m x 3m for one array. And the space you need will reflect the size of your home.
Installing solar panels is a great way to help combat the increasing energy prices, enhance your green credentials, and add value to your property. But if you are going to install solar panels in your garden, it’s important that you provide them with a strong means of anchoring because you do not want to see your investment blown away at the first site of strong wind or a storm. And screw piles are one of the most effective solutions.
Get in touch with UK Helix to find out what screw pile supplies you need to support your solar panel installation.
Disclaimer –Information in this blog does not in any way constitute building advice or guidance for private or commercial building projects.