PV Pointer: Considerations for super small-scale ground-mount PV systems

small-scale ground-mount PV system

When does a ground-mount system work best? Many times, a roof mount is the only option due to space constraints, but when a bit of open land is available, putting a solar project on the ground provides some huge benefits to homeowners:

  1. Flexible design. While a roof is fixed at a tilt due to the structure of the building, a ground mount system provides flexibility, allowing you to set the best tilt for maximum energy output.
  2. Access. Being on the ground also allows easy access to repair, clean, troubleshoot and align the modules.
  3. Preserves the structure. Ground mount panels mean no alterations to the rooftop, and no need to remove the solar panels if the roof needs replaced or repaired.
  4. Efficiency. At times, a ground-mount system results in a cooler module temperature, which means higher energy output.

small-scale ground-mount PV system

If you’ve decided ground mount is the way to go, here are a few considerations when designing your system:

Foundation: When choosing a ground-mount system, look for something that’s simple to install with a concrete-free foundation to minimize the impact on the land, such as a Pre-Engineered Kit from APA Solar Racking — a concrete-free solution to custom project sizes under 150 kW.

The land: Soil is also a key consideration to a solid ground mount system. APA offers foundation solutions for three soil types: rocky (Ground Screw); soft, organic soils (Helical); and non-penetrative soils (Geoballast).

Scale: A system like APA’s ground mount solution is also custom to any 2-panel increment, making it simple to scale. It comes with every part necessary for the racking and can install 10 kW in 4 hours with a skid steer and auger attachment.

Logan Pant is sales account manager at APA Solar Racking.

— Solar Builder magazine

Cantsink has a new inverter mounting system to ease solar installs, maintenance


Cantsink, a solar product supplier since 2010, is introducing Centric, its latest solar innovation, to speed inverter installation and make monitoring easier. By allowing location of string inverters at a central position among ground-mounted panels, Centric streamlines inverter placement during construction.

In a traditional arrangement underneath the panels, inverters are mounted one-by-one in successive spots throughout the project. Centric offers a single, covered location for mounting multiple inverters. This not only speeds inverter placement, it also makes O&M easier by allowing inspection of multiple inverters at one location. Oversight of individual units takes minutes rather than hours. Streamlined monitoring, in conjunction with protection from the elements, means the solar project as a whole works better and lasts longer.

With more utility scale projects using trackers to maximize generation, string inverters mounted under panels are more exposed to sun, rain and storms. Centric allows string inverters to be sheltered, as well as making them more accessible for quick inspection. Patrick Hutchinson, president of Cantsink, said the complexity of rapidly evolving solar technology calls for supporting innovation that will also make solar installations more efficient throughout construction and operation.

“Having grown with the solar industry over the past decade, the innovative team at Cantsink is aware of ongoing needs for better equipment and new methods for managing solar sites,” Hutchinson said. “Centric is the kind of cost-effective design that not only improves the initial installation process, but keeps the project running effectively throughout its life.”

Centric is the latest Cantsink innovation for solar installations. The company also manufactures Brilliant Rack racking systems, featuring the Xpress Mount system. Xpress Mount allows cassettes pre-loaded with as many as 14 panels to be hoisted to Brilliant Rack’s secure ground mount piles and secured in minutes.

Further, Cantsink’s patented helical piers, its signature products, are ideal for supporting heavy equipment pads on solar sites. Pad support effectively stabilizes heavy equipment, such as transformers, central inverters and microgrid, without adding more construction time.

— Solar Builder magazine

Clenergy’s PV-ezRack SolarTerrace is a mounting system designed for solar agricultural projects

Clenergy solar agricultural mounting

Clenergy PV-ezRack SolarTerrace I is a ground mounting system designed for solar-agricultural projects due to its flexible structural design. Clenergy PV-ezRack SolarTerrace I has been widely incorporated into agricultural projects across different regions and countries, with project sizes varying from 15 MW to 40 MW.

How Does it Work?

Together with the pre-fabricated Concrete Pile, the solar mounting system is lifted to a sufficient height above the ground to allow for the use of agricultural machines and ensuring ample sunlight for the growth of crops in the areas below. This, in turn, helps boost ROI.

Three other benefits

  • The mounting structure is manufactured from hot-dip galvanized steel, offering a cost-effective system with excellent quality, corrosion resistance and durability.
  • Various solutions are available to cater to customer’s requirements in different regions.
  • Pre-assembled clamps with modular design are compatible with all common PV Modules on the market.

— Solar Builder magazine

‘Safe Harbor’ from RPCS helps solar developers benefit from this year’s ITC rate next year

RPCS ITC Schedule

RP Constructions Services announced this week a Safe Harbor strategy that will allow project developers, financiers and owners to benefit from this year’s Investment Tax Credit (ITC) rate for projects built in the coming years. Customers can realize savings by both purchasing solar tracker materials from RPCS and storing them safely and cost effectively in RPCS’s two tracker storage facilities, located in California and Texas, to serve projects nationwide.

RPCS’s strategy offers complete flexibility to future projects by selecting components that are universal product parts and aren’t module or project specific. RPCS has the experience of engineering solar tracker projects in-house to give project owners and developers a competitive edge when it comes to planning and purchasing projects in advance in order to obtain the highest value of the ITC.

“One comment that has been made universally among people we’re engaged with on the Safe Harbor opportunity is that, financially, it makes too much sense not to pursue,” says RPCS CSO, Alex Smith. “The question is how to keep as few strings attached to the materials in Safe Harbor as possible so that everyone can maintain their flexibility and take advantage of future shifts in technology or project design that aren’t yet known. We’re able to show how the components we recommend accomplish both things: they ensure a successful Safe Harbor program and also keep the project costs down later at the time of NTP. We’re already designing, stocking, and shipping out projects using these components in our two facilities so it’s natural for us to help companies looking to Safe Harbor materials for projects starting in 2020 and beyond.”

RPCS Safe Harbor

By implementing their Safe Harbor strategy, RPCS helps customers secure the highest tax credit rate while minimizing risks from project or technology changes. RPCS has the experience and capabilities to guide this purchasing decision toward components that will not lose their value or become barriers to other BOS selections when the projects are ready to proceed.

As Array Technology’s trusted partner for over ten years, RPCS focuses solely on designing and building solar tracker projects using the DuraTrack HZ v3 to deliver the highest returns through long-term asset performance. RPCS’s Safe Harbor strategy complements their growing suite of turnkey services, including site layout optimization, ancillary engineering, foundation post and tracker procurement, mechanical installation, and tracker commissioning. With over 360 projects and nearly 1 GW completed throughout the US, RPCS’s deep history and product knowledge provides customers with a trusted choice for turnkey execution of single axis tracker projects.

— Solar Builder magazine

KB Racking launches three new rooftop solar mounting systems

KB Racking will be launching three new mounting systems. BarnRack 2.0 and SeamRack 2.0 are newly updated metal roof systems and ReziRack 2.0 is a shingle roof mounting solution. The robust racking solutions feature low overall system weight, minimum number of components and accommodate all standard size framed PV modules.

The use of 6000 series aluminum offers high strength and corrosion protection. The adaptable designs are complemented by the built in KB10 rail which offers integrated wire management, side mounting and common fasteners for a simple and fast installation. The KB mounting configurations are ETL certified with KB Konnect clamps.

The mounting systems will be available and shipping is projected to start August 2019.

BarnRack 2.0


• Suitable for all corrugated -roof mounting solution applications, adding adaptability and flexibility for both fully-railed and shared-rail solar installations.

• The lightweight aluminum rails couple with corrugated roof connections providing a rigid solar platform and a design backed with leak-proof attachments.

SeamRack 2.0


• A versatile standing seam solar mounting solution, featuring complete adaptability for both fully-railed and shared-rail mounting configurations.

• The system uses non-penetrating seam clamps for mounting directly to standing seams, without jeopardizing the integrity of the roof.

ReziRack 2.0


• A novel shingle roof solar mounting solution, designed for use with both fully-railed and shared-rail mounting configurations
• The system uses industry-leading flashing products, promoting rapid installation while forming a rigid solar mounting platform.

— Solar Builder magazine