Pile Driving Capabilities Enhance Terracon’s Solar Services

July 27, 2021

Test Pile Installation and Critical Data Recording Keeps Projects Moving Forward

Two things have become clear as the U.S. solar industry has matured. First, the market has become more competitive and power purchase agreements (PPAs) are won and lost over a few cents per watt. Second, speed wins. The quicker you can deliver the project the more likely you are to win the PPA. So, as solar consultants, we are forced to offer projects at both a lower cost and a more aggressive commitment of delivery date (COD).

One sure way to reduce the construction costs is to institute a program of pre-design pile load testing (PLT) for your solar racking system. PLT has become the industry standard for confirming the minimum required embedment depth for the racking foundations. Shorter piles equate to reduced balance of plant (BOP) cost which in turn helps to maintain that competitive edge.

The problem has become as basic as one of supply and demand. The need to install test piles to reduce BOP cost is understood. The challenge is in securing a pile driver that has the time to install test piles.

Terracon has solved this problem. We have invested in two Vermeer PD-10 pile drivers that are devoted entirely to installing test piles for our clients. We have them strategically located in the central and southeastern U.S, but they don’t spend much time there. We have mobilized our equipment across the nation to help our clients meet their needs. Our experienced crews will procure the test piles, install them, record drive times and other critical installation observations. Our engineers and field technicians follow to perform axial tension, axial compression, and lateral tension load testing. Data is provided to our engineering staff who, upon request, can provide full issue for construction (IFC) foundation plans and specifications.

 “We cannot expect our clients to wait on critical information required to move their solar projects forward.  Delays can cost them millions of dollars or even forfeiture of a PPA,” said Blair Loftis, VP of power generation and transmission. “Investing in their future is synonymous with investing in our own.”

Investing in our collective futures in response to the pace of the solar market is just one of the things that sets Terracon apart from our competition.

To obtain more information on our pile driving capabilities contact:


Randy Reid                                         Ryan Morgan                                      Stephen Kerlin

Solar Program Manager                   Pile Driving – Central U.S.                 Pile Driving – Eastern U.S.

Portland, Oregon                               Des Moines, Iowa                                Raleigh, North Carolina    

(503) 519-3139                                 (515) 557-3836                                    (919) 802-5091

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