February 5, 2024
Partner Spotlight:

Ok, but what about _____?

Let’s run through some frequent questions and answers when considering Planted Solar. We'll discuss O&M, site selection, and array tech specs.

A black question mark with the Planted Solar mark in the period.

The world needs a massive ramp in solar power capacity to deliver abundant, clean energy to drive a decarbonized economy. We’ve got over 1.5 TW of PV installed today. We need 50-75 TW by 2050.

Solar modules are cost-effective and will continue to grow in supply and efficiency. Planted is built to address the next phase of challenges in the industry: land and interconnections are in shorter supply, a lack of skilled workers to complete the work, and the need to develop and build faster.

We provide a simple, reliable high-density array secured safely and solidly above the ground. We’ll attempt to some simple answers to common questions below. Let’s dive in!

How is Planted different from trackers and conventional fixed tilt?

  • In comparison to south-facing fixed tilt and tracker designs, a Planted array provides a comparable kWh/kWp yield when using a higher inverter loading ratio (ILR), and is substantially lower in cost of structural balance of system and installation, reduces the amount of civil work and civil risk, and requires a lot less land. This adds up to a system with a lower build cost, higher DC system size, and similar annual kWh production.
  • Just as there is new or renewed interest in agrivoltaics, vertical high altitude PV, and BIPV, and we used to see a LOT of interest in CSP, CPV, and dual axis trackers 10+ years ago, a lot of the technology selection boils down to the cost of silicon, the available land, and the costs associated with getting that silicon pointed at the sun.
  • If modules are expensive, you should put more money into everything else to get capacity.
  • If modules are abundant and cost-effective (which they are), you can simplify everything else and get the capacity factor by using more modules and increasing the ILR.

How does this work with the IRA tax credits, particularly domestic content?

We can provide 100% U.S. steel for the racking to comply with the domestic content requirements.

What modules do you use?

Our array works with standard modules. We coordinate with the manufacturer to confirm that the mounting setup maintains warranties.

What slopes and undulations work for the array design?

  • Planted arrays can tolerate up to 27% slope. Our ability to follow the terrain and preserve the natural topography minimizes significant construction costs associated with civil engineering and grading of a site. The existing topsoil of a site can remain because you don't need to grade.
  • Additionally, building sustainably on sites with higher slopes means you can reshape your origination strategy to include previously skipped project sites.

How does vegetation management and O&M work?

  • Modules are replaced from underneath the array using an access cart.
  • Cleaning: The exact approach is site-dependent. Most regions increasingly require less cleaning in a given year. Wet and dry brush cleaning units run by qualified O&M providers are great options for locations that require it.
  • Vegetation: For most cases and sites, grass growth keeps the soil healthier and reduces erosion risks. The amount of light passage through the array is configurable to avoid large swaths of heavily shaded areas. The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) released a great study on best practices to reduce soil deterioration.

Where can Planted Solar be deployed (wind and snow loads)?

  • Our arrays are configurable for wind speeds up to 180 mph (290 kmh) and ground snow loads of 70 psf (3,350 Pa).
  • Using the continental United States for reference, this equates to most everything but the more extreme lake effect snow loads around some of the Great Lakes and wind speeds outside of the Florida Keys.

How do you work with EPCs?

In broad strokes, Planted Solar provides array design layouts, geotech, structural, racking, on-site material logistics, and array assembly. Our hand-off point is typically an agreed-upon DC collection point for the EPC or electrical contractor to complete DC to AC work and interconnection.

What are the array heights and foundation depths?

  • Typical minimum reveals (height above the ground) are around 30” (0.75 m) with a peak height of 45” (1.15 m) based on module tilt and length.
  • Foundation depth is based on soil capacity - typically 24” to 48” (0.65 m to 1.2 m).


Planted Solar

Title - Questions to the client

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