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Client Testimonial 03

Dec, 17th 2013


I’m sorry I had to take off today before circling back with you.

 We’ve been impressed with SunStall’s efforts on behalf of the …….. Solar Park project despite the challenges.  While some weather issues might/should be expected this time of year in WI, I honestly think that this Nov/Dec was extreme in terms of the wet/mud early only to be followed by the frigged temps – I think today was the nicest day we’ve seen in a month.


In no small part due to SunStall, it looks like we will meet out 12/31 deadline.  The next project we do, I’ll owe you a steak dinner.

a MidWest Client

Intersolar NA 2012 – Solar Powered BBQ

Thank you for joining us for some barbeque, drinks and exciting solar conversations.

A Special Thanks goes to the Green Point Nursery and their owners

for their hospitality at their site! See you all next year!

The Sunstall Team

Integrated Geotechnical Services

German engineering influences the solar market with its integrated geotechnical services. Using a pile driving team and soil experts, Sunstall Inc. and AquaSoli LLC are helping lower the costs of solar plants nationwide. With the on-site test loadings, these experts can obtain the foundation strength as well as soil parameters and use the data to create secure and feasible foundation designs for solar plants.


Press Release Sunstall 0112 | Cantsink Manufacturing and Sunstall Join Forces



Lilburn, GA – Novato, CA                                                                             April 26, 2012

After making initial contact shortly before the start of Intersolar 2011 in San Francisco, California.  Cantsink President, Patrick Hutchinson and Sunstall President, Helge Biernath, began talks to consider creating a strategic alliance on ground-mounted photovoltaic projects.  During these conversations, it became increasingly evident that the two companies could very easily work in tandem to greatly increase the productivity and marketability of each firm, resulting in a cost-effective offering to the customers.

Cantsink Manufacturing, a manufacturer of steel helical piles from Lilburn, Georgia, has had increasing success on the Eastern Seaboard of the US, but had very little exposure and capability to have its product installed in the Western United States.  The use of helical piles for PV installations, offers a quick, effective and environmentally friendly means of supporting ground mounted solar structures.  Helical piles provide an effective alternative to driven steel piles and concrete foundations.

Sunstall Inc, a California corporation, offers extensive knowledge in installing ground mount utility solar projects. Experienced in the execution, management, and coordination of construction, Sunstall is able to offer a key piece of capability, nationwide, expanding the service offering of Cantsink Manufacturing.  Sunstall is able to coordinate and manage project installations from coast to coast, effectively.  Using Cantsink’s products and Sunstall’s installation capability, the two companies can now offer services that will guarantee a superbly engineered project that will be installed quickly, competently and will stand the tests of time.  For more information you can visit cantsink.com and sunstall.com.

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Client Testimonial 02 – Advanced Energy Systems

April 5, 2012

To whom it may concern;

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to, and share my positive thoughts regarding our interactions with Sunstall Inc.

We were awarded a contract to construct the Baldock Solar Highway PV project located at the Baldock Rest Area just south of Portland, Oregon. Three years in planning, this 1.75 megawatt project is the largest Solar project on a public highway right of way in the nation.

In July 2011 were finally given a notice to proceed. The timeline called for milestones that would push us to make the project deadline. A supplier gave us the name of Sunstall as a possible sub‐contractor that could manage the pile‐driving and racking assembly.

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Toyota Production System (TPS) & $1/Watt PV System Challenge

$1/Watt PV System – BoS /Installation Challenges for Ground Mounted Systems

The $1/watt White Paper from the U.S. Department of Energy was a great start to kickoff discussions and movements towards the goal of making solar power competitive without any incentives. To achieve this goal, the cost of an installed PV system would break down into the following components:

•    $.50/watt for Modules

•    $.40/watt for BoS/Installation

•    $.10/watt for Power Electronics

Module Prices and Power Electronics are Getting There

With new production capacities going online almost every week and new players consistently entering the global market, it seems that the question is not if, but when the module prices will hit the $.50/watt. Innovation, scale of production and fierce competition will lead the way to the defined goal, not only for the modules, but also for power electronics.


Currently, physical system costs, including labor, are accounting for about 75% of BoS costs for a ground-mounted installation. These costs are divided between structural components and the electrical system.

How can these costs be driven down to the $.40/watt goal? A 2010 Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) workshop suggested the following steps:

•    Reduce forces at work – such as reduction of the wind load

•    Optimize structural form and materials

•    Design for low-cost installation

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Which Solar Ground-Mount Should You Use?

The many different types of mounts for solar arrays, be it fixed-, single-, or dual-axis trackers, can lead to considerable confusion when trying to decide how to mount your solar panels. However, there are several advantages and disadvantages to each type of mounting system depending on a variety of variables including climate, latitude, landscape, budget, and size of the solar array that you are hoping to build.

Fixed-axis systems are the most mechanically simple, and least expensive mounts for solar panels. They can be used on the roof or on the ground, and because of their mechanical simplicity, tend to have a longer lifespan than trackers. These mounts are also beneficial in less sunny climates, where extra expense of a solar tracker may not be worth the small increase in electrical output.

If you decide that you want a solar tracker, there are many options that you can choose from. Firstly, there are thermal (passive) and electrical (active) trackers. Thermal trackers use the heat from the sun, which heats a liquid inside of the solar panel, to rotate. These are beneficial because they have fewer mechanical parts, and are therefore less prone to failure. They are also less expensive. However they can be slow to react to solar motion. In addition, they can be imprecise in the winter because they rely on heat to rotate. Finally, there are electrical trackers, which are the most popular. They are very precise even in the winter, and can increase electrical output from 20-40% from fixed-axis mounts. However, they require a fair amount of maintenance and are more expensive than fixed-mount and thermal trackers.

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Foundations for Ground Mounted Solar Installations

Ground-mounted systems are probably the simplest way to install solar on a larger scale compared to other types of installations such as roofs or parking structures. These systems can be held down by a variety of foundations, including concrete footings, pile driven posts, piers, metal earth screws or with ballasted holding trays.

One size fits all ?

Foundation systems need to correspond to the existing site considerations and soil  static conditions according to engineering calculations and  building codes. The one size fits all approach will not lead to the most cost and resource efficient results. Here are some key factors that will help to determine the foundation type:

  • Tilt angle and tracking characteristics of the solar power system.
  • Local design wind speeds and snow loads (If applicable) where the solar power system is to be installed.
  • Support and racking configuration.
  • Overall solar module system size and weight.
  • Local design codes and project requirements.
  • Soil characteristics relative to friction, sliding, consolidation, slope stability, salinity, etc.
  • Brownfield or landfill

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