Category: Smart Energy Technologies
What lies beneath the surface of any given solar array? Risk. Specifically, the risk associated with unknown subsurface conditions during project conception and initial design. Unanticipated subsurface conditions have the potential to cause delays and cost overruns on even the best-managed and well-executed projects.
As geotechnical engineers, it is our job to explore and characterize the subsurface soil conditions at a potential solar development site. Thorough delineation takes tremendous effort, time and expense that may not be practical at the conceptual stage of development. Yet, solar developers must make “Go, No-Go” decisions based on an extremely limited understanding of the conditions that will likely have the largest impact on project success. In this digital era, mitigating risk associated with subsurface exploration and unanticipated subsurface conditions during construction is a top priority. Utilizing processes for compiling and managing data, and GIS methods to analyze and present site data along with historical subsurface information, we can ultimately lower risk for the entire project team.
Consider for more than a century, geotechnical professionals have meticulously documented the location and conditions encountered in hundreds of thousands of subsurface borings. We are utilizing the power of GIS-processing in conjunction with this library of historical subsurface information to more efficiently set through exploration scope development, project feasibility studies, site selection, and preliminary budgeting.
Digitizing the historical subsurface information creates a catalyst for an interactive, web-based platform that combines the publicly available information and collected data, and culminates with the invaluable opinion of a local, experienced geotechnical engineer. This connectivity aids in the reduction of risks associated with unknown conditions on prospective project sites, and for our valuable team members.
By using past information to better understand the present, there is a way to develop smarter work scopes and able to more efficiently anticipate subsurface conditions.