Solar projects are growing exponentially — and while that’s positive by almost any metric, it comes with complications. Take site selection for instance. We’re running out of the easy, flat terrain in the deserts and abundant farm fields so prevalent a decade ago. 

Solar developers are reevaluating rocky, hilly terrain as prices rise on the remaining prime parcels. This is where the foundation conversation meets the ground, as it were. Selecting the proper ground-mount foundation will minimize delays, lower costs, and maximize returns on your solar project. But I find that far more often than I suspected, buyers and engineering departments in development shops are unsure, apart from the obvious very rocky sites, exactly when it is both cost effective and site-appropriate to use ground screws over driven-pier (pile) foundations. 

Pile foundations are the traditional option. But our guest today suggests ground screws may offer particular advantages. Mike Faraone is director of engineering at Terrasmart, the renewable energy arm of Gibraltar Industries. And, Terrasmart is a leader in the world of ground screws. With a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a Master’s and Ph.D. in geotechnical engineering, Mike understands why ground screws matter and what factors to consider when evaluating their use.

They call him Dr. Dirt for a reason. In today’s Tactical Tuesday, you’ll learn how he got that nickname and everything you always wondered about the merits of ground screws for your next utility-scale solar project. Whether you’re in this sector of the renewable conversation or not, I hope you stick around for the discussion.  I’ve seen quite a few large residential systems installed in rocky and hilly terrain that would have benefited from a ground screw as well!

Please join us every Tuesday for more great conversations with subject matter experts who can offer you practical tools, tips and advice to build your solar business and career.