Temporary Platforms at Ross River Solar Farm
The Ross River Solar Farm development is a renewable energy project that will generate clean and sustainable electricity from the sun. Worth $225 million, the project is located in Townsville on a disused mango plantation. The farm comprises of 450,000 crystalline solar photovoltaic modules (solar panels) and are to be installed on ground-mounted frames that will track the movement of the sun. A key element of the project included using a fixed metal mounting structure that would be piled into the ground without the need for concrete. The solar farm is built on a 202 hectares site and will have enough capacity to generate 148 megawatts of clean renewable energy. The solar panels are enough to power 54,000 homes and the farm is anticipated to operate for 40 years after construction.
As the construction was underway, local storms burdened the delivery of the project. 350mm of rain fell causing flash flooding, thereby halting progress on the project. After the flood, the topsoil had dried, however, due to the rain, the underlying ground was still wet and unstable. Workers attempted to circumvent the issue by trimming the grass to allow the sun to dry the ground but to no avail.
DuraBase Mats Protect the Ground for Piling Works
To remedy this problem, Durabase mats were used as a temporary platform for ground protection. Construction was done on the mats to construct the ground-mounted frames that were piled into the ground. Equally distributing the pressure on the ground, the mats prevented the machinery from sinking into the ground soft earth and causing damage to the vehicle. Furthermore, the mats could be leapfrogged over multiple areas of the site to be reused.
Expecting to operate for another 40 years, the Ross River Solar Farm was a successful step towards green energy for the environment. The mats could be reused over multiple sections of the project site and were easily removed after construction was completed. Little remediation was required to the boggy ground and the utility-scale solar farm is set to provide clean energy to the locals of Townsville.