How Earth Anchor Technology Simplifies Ground-Mounted Solar for Installers

How Earth Anchor Technology Simplifies Ground-Mounted Solar for Installers

In today’s residential solar market, many installers specialize in strictly rooftop projects. However, it’s not always possible – or even the best decision, to install solar on rooftops due to:

  •  Obstacles, vents, and insufficient space.
  •  Shading from nearby trees and buildings.
  •  Lack of structural support (i.e. old roofs).

These hurdles are why many installers explore ground-mounted solar options instead.

Oftentimes, this approach presents its own set of installation challenges:

  • Heavy machinery to drill holes or drive piles into the ground.
  • Costly excavations. 
  • Geotechnical reports and inspections can both cause delays.
  • Large, highly skilled teams are often required.

None of these challenges are insurmountable, but it’s not uncommon for installers to “revisit” rooftop solar after troubles with ground-mount appear. In their mind, rooftop installations are just easier.

What if that wasn’t the case? 

With the Osprey PowerPlatform®, earth anchor technology eliminates many of these challenges – allowing you to complete ground-mounted solar projects faster, cheaper, and with far fewer hassles.

In addition to helping your team save both money and time, this revolutionary earth anchor technology can also help open new revenue streams. This is particularly true during the winter months when many installers forgo ground-mounted projects completely – due to frozen terrain and heavy snow.

But what are earth anchors, and how do they work?

The Osprey PowerPlatform’s Earth Anchors at a Glance

As the name suggests, earth anchors provide the requisite stability for holding ground-mounted solar racking systems in place. They perform the same function that concrete piers, steel piles, or helical screws do for traditional racking systems, but their benefits far surpass these methods.

1. Installation Ease 

Earth anchors can quickly be installed into the ground using nothing but handheld tools such as rotary hammers and drill drivers. These inexpensive tools are what most installers already have or can easily rent.

Part of this installation ease stems from the earth anchor’s unique design:

  • No need to excavate the ground or pour cement since each hot-dip galvanized earth anchor bores easily into the ground using carefully designed penetrating teeth.
  • Installers also don’t have to worry about rocks, frozen ground, or difficult terrain because the earth anchor’s footprint is minimal – being only 1.5” in diameter.
  • No need to level the ground since the Osprey PowerPlatform has adjustable legs with more than 2 feet of slack.

The earth anchors are so easy to install that they don’t require any specialized training (or specialized labor). Think of it as easy as assembling a bookshelf from IKEA.

We’ve even made getting certified easy. It takes less than one hour where you have access to:

  • Our Learning Management System (LMS) with demo videos and documentation.
  • Nuance Energy Group’s support team is always ready to help.
  • Demo Days hosted throughout the calendar year.

The Osprey’s easy installation is in sharp contrast to what most conventional ground-mounted solutions require, including excavations, pipe procurement and cutting, rental equipment, cement mixers, and heavy machinery.

Traditional racking systems also require specialized teams that can properly use the above tools once they arrive on-site and there is always the risk of damaging rental equipment when installing ground-mounted solar in rocky terrain or frozen soil.

2. Installation Speed

The Osprey’s unrivaled earth anchor technology provides your teams with the ability to deploy projects much faster in the field:

  • A 3-person crew can quickly install a 6kW PV system in under an hour with simple tools.
  • A 2MW project that might normally take 60 days can be completed in just 16.

In addition, because our earth anchors are seated into position in real time soil conditions, every anchor is tested to a prescribed load upon installation. This feature as well as the anchors minimal footprint removes the need for geotechnical reporting and costly inspections – both of which can cause delays or result in budget overruns.

The Osprey’s modular design also allows you to perform uplift tests on the spot. If the results aren’t satisfactory, simply drive another anchor. You can easily “lift” and “shift” the entire racking system to a better location should this be desirable. None of this is possible when the racking is already cemented permanently to the ground using traditional stabilization technologies.

This portability is just one of many reasons why the Osprey is the ground-mounted technology of choice for:

  • Mines and quarries
  • Military field camps
  • Disaster recovery sites
  • Farms and orchards

3. Installation Cost

Instead of staffing large, specialized crews for weeks at a time, the Osprey PowerPlatform allows you to use smaller, less-skilled teams for just hours per project. In fact, what you’ll save in per diems alone makes the Osprey’s earth anchors a more cost-effective solution than traditional ground-mounted racking systems.

However, the savings don’t stop there.

The Osprey’s streamlined design also means faster deployment and less procurement – allowing you to complete more ground-mounted solar PV projects for a fraction of the usual cost.

For example, a 2MW ground-mounted system built using Osprey’s earth anchor technology is up to $130,000 cheaper to install – compared to conventional racking solutions.

You can use our free cost estimator to calculate the potential savings you’ll enjoy when using the Osprey PowerPlatform. 

4. Installation Stability

Ground-mounted contractors have a tendency to overbuild their systems – and with good reason. Installers want to maximize the support and structural integrity of their builds.

This approach inevitably leads to higher costs and longer delays.

But the Osprey PowerPlatform’s earth anchors can safely be installed in all terrains – even when working with frozen ground or heavy snow loads. This is because the “hold down” strength exceeds 2 tons thanks to the 26 ft.³ of soil above each earth anchor.

This trusted technology is even used by:

  • The Department of Transportation uses earth anchors for retaining walls on freeways all over the country.
  • Utility companies routinely rely on earth anchor technology to stabilize high-tension power lines.

One Final Osprey Benefit: Entirely New Revenue Streams

Many installers won’t even touch ground-mounted opportunities due to:

  • Bad experiences in the past.
  • Concerns about costs and logistics.
  • Paying for numerous outsourced 3rd party services at time of rendering. 

Alternatively, for them, it’s often more practical to focus exclusively on rooftops solar – even if this means:

  • Reinforcing existing rooftops.
  • Clearing away obstacles (like trees).
  • Providing clients with smaller systems.

In other words, they make rooftop solar work – either by increasing installation costs or reducing solar power output.

By eliminating many of these logistical concerns, the Osprey allows your team to get back into the ground-mounted solar game.

These benefits exist even in the dead of winter when:

  • Ground-mounted solar isn’t normally possible.
  • Rooftop solar isn’t necessarily safe or practical.

As an added bonus, the Osprey can easily be relocated while leaving the original site pristine. This portability offers peace of mind for those who want to go solar but fear forfeiting their investment if they ever move during the 10 to 20 years it takes for their PV systems to break even.

In short, the Osprey PowerPlatform can create an entirely new revenue stream for your solar installation business and you can still offer rooftop installs as an option for those who want it or for those that don’t have the land. But when ground-mounted solar is the best option, the Osprey just makes sense. 

Have Questions about the Osprey PowerPlatform?

If you’d like to learn how this revolutionary ground-mounted solar racking technology can make your business more profitable, the Nuance Energy Group is happy to help.

To get started, you can either:

To learn more about our complete range of turnkey solar solutions for your project, schedule a free consultation with the Nuance Energy team today.