#BetterCallPaul: Your Engineering Questions Answered (No. 6, July)

Better Call Paul

How can RPCS help developers and EPCs deploy single-axis trackers on challenging terrain?

One aspect of project creation in which our customers often require assistance is understanding how to work with parcels of land with varied topography. RPCS has a great deal of experience handling and adapting the Array tracker to different underlying terrain and can help the customer see the different options available to them and the resulting costs/labor involved with each option so that the best decision can be made for each individual project.

Developers today are increasingly looking for ways to avoid grading their projects when possible. In lieu of this, RPCS has become adept at analyzing the effects of wind and snow loading at different tracker heights and giving thorough prescriptions for the parts of the array which are under the most stress. In doing this, we can make sure to account for the areas needing a higher degree of strength while not punishing the cost of the rest of the tracker which does not need that same level of vigor. The RPCS design team also provides detailed ground force calculations for each foundation height interval above grade to provide our foundation designers the information necessary to keep the tracker structurally sound no matter the height of the tracker.

RPCS also keeps the construction aspect of building on tough terrain in mind so that we may keep the tracker both as strong as is needed and as easily buildable as possible. We provide our building crew with detailed, color-coded foundation height maps that outline exactly which pile type is needed in each location across the site. We then buff up this map for what makes sense from a constructability standpoint for a fast, clean install process.

Whether trackers need to be raised due to terrain undulation, local building codes, or environmental disturbance reduction, RPCS can help analyze and execute the production and design of the tracker to fulfill the needs of the customer while maintaining an easy build and limiting cost.


Meet Paul Towber
RPCS Manager of Project Design

In RPCS’s #BetterCallPaul segment, Paul answers your frequently asked engineering-related questions while offering unique insights into RPCS’s project design challenges, solutions, and expertise.


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