Geotechnical Investigation & Design for Solar Park – Somerset
A renewable energy company approached Southwest Environmental as they were concerned that transformer bases incorporated within a new solar park in Somerset were sufficient to meet structural loading.
The solar park which extends to approximately 12 hectares was well under construction with the majority of panels installed, and the transformer bases constructed.
|The site was heavily trafficked and access was difficult
|most of the solar panels were already installed
|lots of solar panels just what the UK needs
|again – a large number of solar panels
The site was on the peats and silts of the Somerset levels, these are very challenging areas in which to build, with soils typically exhibiting very low strength values, and owing to the thickness of they superficial silts are infeasible for piled foundations.
Using an established method for the determination of soil strengths SWEL found that the proposed structural loading was very similar to the max allowable loadings for the soil conditions encountered on site. To that end a program of monitoring was suggested for a period of 18 months to span a wet season, and observed for movement, as a secondary option a piled foundation solution was recommended.
The above work was turned around with a 15 day working window, with sampling, dynamic probing, laboratory analysis and reported delivered within a tight time frame.