Interview with CEO Stephen Beeby
How long have you been in business?
I was in the contracting business for 30 years prior to founding Groundwork. We have been supplying equipment and machinery globally now for over 16 years.
What experience have you had with Solar Farm Development?
We have been commissioned to set up projects in Arizona, India, Australia, Japan, Middle Est , China with companies such as RUS Industrial, Wanzek, Genpro, Beitzel, and Kinsley to name a few. What are some of the major considerations for Solar Farm Installation?
Location – the closer to the equator the more electricity you are able to generate
Weather - Energy production can be reduced by fog, clouds, rain and haze. This can be combatted by installing battery banks which help to store energy that is produced on clear, sunny days.
Time – obviously long summer days will produce more energy than shorter winter days.
Angle of tilt – to get the most from panels ensure that they are pointing in the direction that captures the most sun.
Width between arrays – allow room for cleaning machinery when planning your system. Dirty panels can reduce the efficiency by up to 25%
Ground conditions – some areas may be flat and easy driving. If the ground is rocky at all, you should consider using a rock drill or screw pile driver.
How do you choose the correct Solar Pile Driver for the job?
Talk to the experts! Different projects require piles to be driven into the ground at different levels. Things such as ground conditions weather and the type of panels (tracking or fixed) require different equipment. There are a variety of attachments available for skid steers, excavators or trucks, however sometimes for bigger projects you will require purpose-built machinery. Talk to us directly for advice on the best equipment for your project.
What sort of after sales service and training do you provide?
With the recent pandemic and travel restrictions; travel for set-up and training has needed to be adapted to be virtual. Our online systems mean that we can regularly keep in communication with project managers and machine operators. We have dealers located across the globe that can assist with training and support if required.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for Solar EPC Companies in todays market?
Labor work force and adapting new technologies. Automation is here and will play a big part in the coming years. Such things as auto drive pile drivers, and auto pile placement are just some of the new equipment being manufactured
What are some of the common problems and solutions for Pile Driving?
Insufficient hammer efficiency – ensure the driving system is suitably matched to the project
Piles driving deeper than estimated – may mean that the soil conditions are not as strong as anticipated. The piles may need to be driven deeper than originally estimated or extra piles installed to support the load – talk to your structural engineer.
Lateral movement of new piles – this may mean that there is soil displacement – pre-drilling holes will help reduce ground movement.
Piles driven out of alignment – all of our machines are fitted with templates (or pile gates) which improves the alignment tolerance.
Obstructions in Pile Driving – Hitting obstructions will need to be reduced as you will either A) mushroom and damage the pile heads or B) damage the Pile Drivers. You may need to use a rock drill. Consult with your engineer.