Earth anchors—more than helical piles and ground screws—help make ground-mount solar more profitable


By Jono Stevens, executive vice president of products at Nuance Energy

The earth anchor, long used in a variety of applications—including electric utility projects—has a new use: securing the foundations of ground-mount solar arrays. Unlike conventional foundations, an earth anchor foundation system does not require a detailed geotechnical report, extensive engineering effort or costly construction techniques. Enabling unskilled crews to install solar arrays using only handheld power tools eliminates the need for expensive, heavy equipment. And compliance with engineering specifications, applicable codes and local regulations can be verified via simple, real-time load testing.

The earth anchor foundation system’s ability to work more easily, quickly and inexpensively in virtually any type of soil on any site makes solar energy more practical and affordable at any scale, and creates more profitable opportunities for agricultural, commercial, industrial and utility projects.

Anchored foundations

Earth anchors function similarly to helical piles and ground screws, but with two important differences; they require less steel and can be installed using only handheld tools. The anchor itself is a hot-dipped galvanized, ductile iron casting about 5 in. long and 1.5 in. in diameter with penetrating “teeth” at one end, a hole for inserting the drive rod at the other end, and an “eye” in the center for attaching an aircraft-grade stainless steel cable or galvanized threaded rod. The anchor and cable are driven into the ground using a special drive rod—a process that is made all the easier with its narrow profile and aggressive teeth. When the drive rod is removed and uplift force is applied to the cable or rod, the underground anchor rotates into its final, horizontal and locked position.

Its innovative design gives earth anchors an extraordinarily strong holding power based on the “inverted cone” of soil above. An anchor set 4 ft deep, for example, is secured by over 26 ft³ of contributing soil for a holding capacity of over 2,000 lb in most soil conditions. The ease of installation and high holding power make earth anchor foundation systems suitable for sites where deploying solar power has previously been considered impractical or impossible.

The ability to conduct simple, inexpensive field load tests to measure the actual (vs. calculated) holding capacity of every earth anchor in real time eliminates the need for geotechnical reports and related inspections, and virtually guarantees being able to meet—easily and cost-effectively—the required engineering and design specifications. To ensure long-term reliability and continued compliance, Nuance Energy recommends conducting the tests to 1.5-times the calculated worst-case scenario design loads.

If any test fails to reach the specified load, the earth anchor can simply be removed and installed again at a different angle and/or depth. A second anchor can then be set, with the load test performed again on the pair.


Construction begins by assembling the platform and placing it in position. The height of each anchor stand is adjusted to level the racking system as it is assembled. For example, Nuance Energy’s Osprey PowerPlatform has stands with an adjustment range of 26 in., making the standard model suitable for slopes up to 12° or, with custom engineering, up to 23°.

An electric or pneumatic jack-hammer, powered by a portable generator or air compressor, is the only tool needed to set earth anchors in the soil. Installation over rock or pavement requires the use of a rotary hammer drill with a suitable bit to set a conventional expanding anchor. The only other equipment needed is the portable load testing rig for performing the load tests.

When the platform is fully assembled, aligned and leveled, the earth anchors are set through a hole in the base plate of the anchor stands, usually to a depth of 3 to 4 ft below grade, depending on the soil conditions. This step is completed before the solar modules are installed to make it easier to place the load testing rig over the anchor stands. Upon a successful test, the excess cable from the earth anchor is wrapped around the stand and secured.

Completing the installation involves attaching the solar modules and inverter(s), routing the wires and making the connection to the electric load and/or grid. The C-rail design provides an integrated trough for the wiring, which eliminates the need for separate wire management channels or conduits. The design also provides a suitable structure for mounting the inverter(s), eliminating the need for concrete pads.

A standard 16-module (2×8) array is supported by six anchor stands that distribute the total weight at under 225 lb/ft². For wind loads, all six earth anchors (one per stand) can secure a total uplift force of over 12,000 lb, depending on depth and soil conditions. Additional anchors can be set as needed, such as with unusually high winds and/or poor soil conditions.

A four-person crew is able to assemble a 45-kW solar array consisting of 128 350-kW panels—from start to finish—in eight hours. The cost for installing the anchor platform, rails and solar panels in a larger 2-MW system is only 1.5¢/W (using typical hourly wages for semi-skilled workers), resulting in a potential savings of over $130,000 when compared to using helical piles or ground screws.

The versatility to perform well in virtually any situation and soil condition enables EPCs, contractors and distributors to have a single, modular solution for nearly all ground-mount projects. This is true even under the most challenging of conditions, such as in desert hardpan, rocky soil, permafrost or on landfills.

For systems that must eventually be moved, or decommissioned and removed, the entire framework can be disassembled for use at another site. Except for the inexpensive earth anchors, there are no stranded assets and only minimal environmental impact. In projects that benefit from this “lift and shift” portability, such as mining, the earth anchor foundation system offers this significant additional advantage over all other alternatives.

The earth anchor foundation system proves to be more universal, easier, faster and less expensive than other foundation options—from procurement through construction and, optionally, decommissioning. With such advantages, earth anchor foundations are destined to become increasingly popular with EPCs, developers, contractors and distributors alike for ground-mount solar projects.

Solar Power World

Dubai switches on 10MW renewables-powered ‘Sustainable City’ project

More in News, Power Plants, Projects, Africa & Middle East

Dubai switches on 10MW renewables-powered ‘Sustainable City’ project

The Sustainable City already boasts rooftop solar installs upon its residential villas.

The Sustainable City already boasts rooftop solar installs upon its residential villas.

A 10MW ‘Sustainable City’ has been switched on in Dubai, with Trina Solar panels helping it to meet all of its power needs from clean sources.

The Sustainable City comprises 500 residential villas, a 170-room hotel, mosque, school, swimming pool and an equestrian club and track and has been billed as one of the largest sustainable cities currently operating in the Middle East.

Solar is a significant contributor to its power demand, however specially-designed panels had to be used because of Dubai’s harsh climate and environmental conditions.

Trina’s Duomax panels – 40,000 of them – were selected because of its frameless design which limits dust accumulation, and its dual glass feature which makes the panels more durable.

The solar array is expected to produce as much as 16GWh of power each year.

The install has been phased with just over 24,000 panels connected to date in what Anwar Zabin, chief executive at City Solar, described as a “momentous milestone” for the project.

The remaining panels are to be connected at a later date.

Helen Li, president for Asia Pacific and Middle East at Trina Solar, said: “The Sustainable City is a ground-breaking initiative in ensuring that the city’s growth and development continues responsibly. With Trina Solar’s supply, a significant portion of the residents’ energy needs are being met for a cleaner, lower cost, and more sustainable future.” 

dubai, residential, pv power plants, middle east, mesia

Study finds potential for geothermal energy utilisation beneath Istanbul, Turkey

Studies on determining the risk of earthquakes in Istanbul have revealed that the city has a potential for the utilisation of geothermal energy, as reported locally.

Yediyol Group of Companies, which has geothermal investments in Aydin’s Kusadasi district, has 13 geothermal exploration licenses throughout the province and now plans to commercially utilise geothermal resources in Istanbul.

In a statement Yediyol Company Group Chairman Muhammet ?uheyp Mandi, said that “geothermal will help to save on gas bills for heating, and even more important geothermal is greener than other sources of heating because there is less of emission.”

The company has now started building on residential projects with thermal pools heated by geothermal energy in Istanbul.

Mendi pointed out that Istanbul’s most important urban transformation project is over the geothermal richness of Fikirtepe and said that they are preparing a central heating project based on geothermal in this part of the area. The project, which envisages the construction of thermal pools in the region, will also be applied to residential projects in Kag?thane Cendere Valley and Atasehir.

Yediyol Group of Companies also started to build the first project of 60 apartments in Kadiköy Acibadem with the slogan “heating and thermal facility free, no dues” using geothermal resource.

Mendi also explained that they planned to build thermal cure centers in geothermal usage areas. “Millions of people every year think that they will come to the feet of the Istanbulites while they spend their money on thermal centers to find healing”.

Source: Dunya

Younicos-designed WEMAG battery park successfully “black starts” grid on first attempt


Berlin and Schwerin, August 14, 2017: In a first-of-its-kind trial, Europe’s first commercial battery power plant, in combination with a combined-cycle gas turbine, has successfully restored a previously disconnected power grid in the North German city of Schwerin. 


In the experiment, the reconstruction of the disconnected power grid in the state capital of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania was successfully tested with the aid of a battery system paired with a gas and steam turbine (CCGT) plant.


For the test, a microgrid was first established between the CCGT, three substations and the WEMAG battery power station, which was developed by the Berlin-based storage pioneer Younicos.

After the power island was set up, the disconnected CCGT plant was successfully put into operation again by the battery storage system. During the multi-hour test, local electricity customers were not connected to this islanded power grid; their supply was ensured via other lines. 


“The WEMAG battery plant proved that it can restore the power grid after major disruption or blackout. To date, purely conventional power plant technology has been used for this purpose,” said WEMAG board member Caspar Baumgart.


“This test is proof of the impressive grid-forming capabilities of battery power plants,” Younicos CEO Stephen L. Prince added. “It shows how smoothly our intelligent software can re-establish power in case of blackouts, as well as securely operate grids with high shares of renewables.”


In the event of a major disturbance on the grid or a complete breakdown of the transmission network, energy generators and grid operators must coordinate restoration of the electricity supply in the networks they operate. A multi-day blackout in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern would result in substantial damage to the entire infrastructure and would compromise the basic needs of the population.


“System and supply security is a top priority for the federal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The total blackout of the electricity network is thus very unlikely – but we want to be prepared for the worst case, which is why we are grateful that the battery park opens a new opportunity for restoring the power supply in the worst case.

Innovative black start and grid restoration methods significantly reduce the risk of damages caused by blackouts. Through its black start capability, WEMAG’s battery storage makes a significant contribution to this. Further tests with different configurations and including renewable energies can now follow” said Christian Pegel, Minister of Energy, Infrastructure and Digitization in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.


“Supply reconstruction” is a system service that is not only required by network operators, but also by industrial users, in order to avoid costly production cuts.


The project partners involved were WEMAG AG, WEMAG Netz GmbH, Batteriespeicher Schwerin GmbH & Co. KG, Energieversorgung Schwerin GmbH & Co. Generation KG, the Institute of Electrical Energy Technology of the University of Rostock and Younicos.


“Our theory that it is possible to power up a gas turbine using a battery power plant and to synchronize the resulting islanded grid has been fully confirmed,” said Manfred Krüger, a research fellow at the University of Rostock. 


How solar tower and storage won on costs

As the South Australian government basks in the glow of procuring a second world-leading and game-changing renewable energy technology project for the state, attention is turning to the finer details of the deal; in particular, how a solar tower power plant with molten salt storage won the government tender on costs.


SA Premier Jay Weatherill announced on Monday afternoon that solar thermal developer SolarReserve had won the tender to supply 100 per cent of the government’s long-term power needs via a 150MW solar tower and storage facility to be built in the former coal town of Port Augusta.

The project, dubbed Aurora, won the 20-year contract to deliver power at just $78/MWh which, as we reported here, is amazingly cheap: around one-half of previous estimates for the technology, and significantly cheaper than the gas generation fleet that currently dominates the state’s generation profile.

So how did SolarReserve come to such a low cost of supply?

The answer lies in two key elements of the deal. The first is the length of the power off take contract SolarReserve has signed with the SA government, which at 20 years, allows the company to amortise debt over a longer period.

The second key factor is the $110 million of recoupable finance promised by the federal government in April, in a deal with SA Senator Nick Xenophon to help accelerate the development of a solar thermal plant or large-scale solar project at Port Augusta.

The deal, struck in exchange for Xenophon passing the federal Coalition’s tax cuts, was welcomed at the time by Weatherill, who confirmed the loan – over and above any funding from CEFC or ARENA – would put solar thermal “right in the running” to win the SA government’s tender.

And so it did. Speaking in an interview on Monday, SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith remained hazy on the finer details of the contract, but did concede that if the federal government withdrew its promise of equity funding, the company would have to go back to the drawing board on costs.

“We built that into the pricing structure. The basis of our bid was that (federal government) money was available to us. It’s not a grant. It is an equity investment. They will get money back,” Smith said.

Asked whether the project was a “loss leader,” however, Smith’s response was a clear “no.”

“Investors and lenders do not let projects be loss leaders,” he said. “Lenders keep everyone honest. It is a modest return project… We hope to make some money on the back end of the deal.”

On the length of the contract, Smith said 20-years was a pretty typical time-frame for the industry. “That allows us to bring in long-term financing… long-term debt … and that allows the capital cost to be amortised over a longer period, (and) drives down the cost of power.

“As soon as that debt is paid off, we are looking at significant price reductions after that,” he said.

For the SA government, the solar thermal and molten salt storage project has the obvious benefit of ticking the box for both its tenders – to provide 75 per cent of its long-term power supply and 25 per cent of its electricity load from dispatchable renewables – and the longer-term benefit of putting downward pressure on the state’s power prices.

“The government load peaks in the middle of the day, and the rest of the market’s load peaks at six or seven in the evening,” Weatherill said.

“So what that gives us the opportunity to do is to play this power into the point of the day when it’s most needed.

“That’s why it works, financially, for both parties. And that’s why it’s an incredibly powerful offering for the South Australian market.

“There will be benefits for the South Australian tax-payer, but broader benefits for the South Australian community as we put downward pressure on prices,” he said.

“As power companies are aware that this project is going to come on board, they’ll be starting to write forward contracts that factor it in – just as they factor in all market conditions at the moment.

“So we’ll see those benefits flow to us. And, of course, when the project is up, we’ll see the downward pressure on prices.

And then there is the unquantifiable – but undeniable – value, as one of the Twitterati put it yesterday, of the market confidence that comes from a government that is “actually doing stuff” to progress Australia’s energy market transition.

“This is our energy plan working,” Weatherill added. “We said we wanted to take control of our energy future. We are now doing this in an way which is incentivising private sector investment.

“That’s always been the ambition here; to make sensible investments, use our purchasing power to bring in other competitors to actually cause the changes in the market, but in a way which doesn’t sterilise existing market operators.

“So as new contracts are written in this market, which is now beginning to free up, you will see downward pressure on prices. The trajectory is all downwards, which is what the purpose of the energy plan has all been about.”  

Job: Geothermal geologist ACWA Power – 12 month project in Turkey

ACWA Power is seeking for a “Geothermal Geologist (12 Months- Project Termed)” for its Geothermal Exploration & Power plant Project in Nev?ehir.


  • Screening the Consultancy & Service companies to supply geological, geophysical and geochemical activities during the exploration period.
  • Preparing the work schedule of surveys by coordinating with the Geothermal Consultant.
  • Performing / supporting the required permit matters throughout the regulations before site surveys.
  • Routing the site surveys in order to perform their contractual obligations.
  • Analysing of studies performed by the Geothermal Consultant / Subcontractors with respect to the survey results, ask for necessary revisions and preparation executive summary reports to his/her manager.
  • Supporting the decision process of drilling point by making technical assessment.
  • Tracking & updating the action plan for drilling and forecasting the possible risk & problems during drilling.
  • Supporting technically for well permit and land easement process.
  • Follow up the geological layers during and involving the process actively from the entrance and status at reservoir rocks till drilling termination.
  • Supporting the Geothermal Drilling Manager for well test.
  • Leading the after-drilling period by assessing the final reports.
  • Attending seminars, fairs, training program regularly about the industry.
  • Actively operating PC programs & software and making full contribution for new improvements.

*All applications must be in English .

Pls visit this website for further details:

Source/ further details via LinkedIn

Kuwait Plans Tender for $1.2 Billion Solar Project in 2018

Kuwait will issue a tender to build the estimated $1.2 billion Dibdibah solar-power plant in the first quarter of 2018 as part of the country’s plans to produce 15 percent of power from renewable energy by 2030.

OPEC’s fifth-biggest oil producer set a Sept. 7 deadline for companies to express interest in the 1 gigawatt project, Shukri AbdulAziz Al-Mahrous, deputy chief executive officer of planning and finance at Kuwait National Petroleum Co., said in an interview at the company’s headquarters south of Kuwait City. The cost will be about $1.2 billion, he said. Dibdibah will produce half of the country’s planned renewable energy output, he said.

Building solar plants is part of government efforts to help the environment while benefiting from increased production of petrochemicals and refined products. Kuwait pumped 2.7 million barrels of crude a day in July, less than Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and the United Arab Emirates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“By freeing up the resources, the crude and fuel oil, you can process them and have a highly valued product,” Al-Mahrous said. “Everything you don’t use has value for the country.”

The 32-square-kilometer (12.3-square-mile) plant, which should be completed by the end of 2020 in Kuwait’s northwest, will save burning 5.2 million barrels of oil a year and reduce carbon emissions by 1.3 million tons annually, Al-Mahrous said.

Kuwait consumes at most 14 gigawatts of electricity a day, usually in the summer when temperatures can top 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the Ministry of Electricity & Water. Capacity is 17 gigawatts. The oil industry is the biggest user of power in the country and plans to cover 15 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020, beating the national target by 10 years, Al-Mahrous said.

Kuwait is building a 615,000 barrel-a-day refinery, a petrochemical plant and a receiving terminal for liquefied natural gas at Al-Zour on the Persian Gulf coast. The refinery will mainly produce low-sulfur fuel oil for use in power plants. Kuwait is also upgrading its two existing refineries, known as the clean fuels project. That will allow for more products to be exported, Al-Mahrous said.