Northeast Solar Solutions- Overcoming Environmental Obstacles

The Northeast environment poses various install challenges that are not present in other areas of the United States. However, with the right product and planning it is possible to overcome these obstacles to design and install solar in the Northeast.

The geographical location leads to many sites having bedrock, glacial till, and boulders which can lead to a high risk of refusals. In addition, high amounts of snow,longer winter seasons, and colder weather are other big concerns for projects in the Northeast. These concerns bring a shortened construction season, risk of frost heave, and deeper embedment depths. The Northeastern environment can cause companies to inaccurately plan and misunderstand the soil conditions and timeline, which ultimately impacts budgets and construction schedules.

How to Overcome these Obstacles?


The first step to overcoming these obstacles is to get a geotechnical report completed on the site and to have the racking company do proper anchor testing.With this information, a racking provider, like AP Alternatives, can determine what foundation will be the most optimal for the site.  A ground screw is typically going to be the best solution for rocky soils; however, testing will minimize the expected refusals (each refusal will take double the amount of install time). For most sites in the Northeast pre-drilling is typically recommended before installing the ground screws.

Popular Foundation Types Include:

-Ground Screws - For rocky and cobbly soil

-Helicals - Shallow bedrock, soft soil, deep frost lines

-Piles - Good soil with skin friction properties

-Dual post for high topography, heavy snow and wind loads

-Ballast for non-penetrative soil


Having a construction team that has experience installing in poor soil conditions is a key point in following the construction schedule. An inexperienced crew can make mistakes when problems arise.

Key Install Points Include:

-Accurately understand soil conditions

-Secure right equipment for foundation selection including pile driver, rock drills, drilling rigs, single points, or skid steers

-Know equipment limitations with soil conditions or topography

-Plan for seasonal weather conditions and work productivity changes

-Communicate often in both verbal and written forms

Contact APA Solar Racking with questions and follow us on social media to learn more!





February 26, 2019

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