International ground screw manufacturer Krinner Schraubfundamente, which is locally represented by machine tool supplier Retecon, has participated in the construction of a 170 MW solar park in Germany.
Krinner Schraubfundamente states that this project is the world’s largest solar park. The company supplied the tables and modules, known as the FLEX III system, on which the solar panels were fitted, as well as the ground screws for its 100 MW portion of the park’s total capacity.
The Flex III system offers a module-carry- ing-purlin aluminium sliding system and rapid assembly, as the modules do not require any clamps.
The first phase, which was completed in two-and-a-half months, was built over a 55 ha area and required a total of 25 906 screws, which were installed at a rate of about 1 700 a day. The second phase, which was completed in four months by mid-August, was built on a 175 ha area requiring a total of 56 092 screws.
The screws used on the project range between 2.25 m and 3.25 m.
Retecon became the sole importer of Krinner Group’s ground screw products in Southern Africa at the beginning of 2010.
The screws were designed in Germany by Krinner Group founder Klaus Krinner and later patented in 1994.
The ground screws come in various sizes ranging between 550 mm and 5 m.
The main benefits of using the ground screws include cost and time savings as they are installed in minutes. The product is not only suitable for natural ground, but also for dense and even tarred surfaces. It has been structurally tested and has proven high load values, states Retecon.
The product also offers easy relocation, as one can simply unscrew it and reuse it. The use of the ground screws renders concreting unnecessary, resulting in an environment-friendly product with a small carbon footprint.
Further, the company is looking at expanding into the local renewable-energy market, by securing more Krinner ground screws to be used on future solar projects. Discussions are currently under way with potential developers and European investors.
It is also currently negotiating with local aluminium extrusion companies to establish the local manufacturing of portions of the FLEX III system, which can be manufactured in South Africa under licence, thereby creating jobs and increasing local content.