Erosion Control on Solar Farms… There’s a Better Way

Soil erosion can compromise a solar installation at any stage of its life cycle, from construction to normal day-to-day operation. With today’s more frequent, higher intensity storms, it is especially vital to protect your solar development from the forces of erosion—but the choice you make in your erosion control solution can truly make a difference in both the short- and long-term.

Which Erosion Control solution is right for Solar Developments?

Generally, engineers for solar developments are left with the choice between hard armor solutions that provide immediate long-term soil protection, like rock riprap, or soft armor solutions that are lighter weight and aesthetically pleasing.

InstaTurf ShearForce products represent a new school of thought in the erosion control space: the immediate and long-term reliability of rock riprap combined with the aesthetics and light weight of soft armor TRMs.

Why Try Something New?

For most engineers and contractors, erosion control is an answered question already. Why complicate something that’s seen as a simple choice? InstaTurf ShearForce products are particularly valuable when it comes to solar development applications, and the choice to employ InstaTurf on your solar development will do more than simply protect your site from erosion.

What’s Wrong with Rock Riprap?

One of the most expensive (and preventable) upkeep costs involved in solar developments is panel and array repair. Because rock riprap is heavy, it is far more likely to cause damage to your arrays during installation. Additionally, because rock riprap provides unstable footing, heavy equipment is often required to perform simple maintenance like weed removal, thereby increasing the risk of panel damage throughout the lifetime of your solar development. No solar developer wants to run the risk of heavy machinery throwing a rock and shattering a panel.

For many solar developments, public scrutiny is an existential threat. Let’s face it: rock riprap is far from beautiful. If nearby residents are somehow offput by your site’s aesthetics, they are far more likely to impede forward progress on the project. Many large-scale solar developments have crumbled due to a ‘not-in-my-backyard’ mentality exacerbated by poor site aesthetics.

What’s Wrong with Traditional TRMs?

InstaTurf ShearForce products share many of their benefits with traditional soft armor erosion control solutions like TRMs. InstaTurf ShearForce and TRMs are both lightweight and require no panel-damaging heavy equipment during installation or maintenance—but compared to InstaTurf, TRMs fall short in terms of reliability. TRMs don’t provide reliable soil protection until 6-12+ months of vegetation growth, during which time they are at an increased risk of failure. Erosion control failure on a solar development is simply unacceptable. When TRMs fail, they require added labor, cost, and risk of panel damage to remove the failed mat and replace it—and once you’ve replaced your failed TRM you have to start vegetation growth from scratch and face another 6-12+ months of increased risk of failure.

The Best of Both Worlds

InstaTurf ShearForce products provide the benefits of both rock riprap and traditional TRMs without their associated drawbacks. Like rock riprap, InstaTurf products immediately provide superlative protection upon installation. In fact, InstaTurf provides the same soil protection as rock riprap and superior protection to traditional TRMs. No 6-12+ month vegetation growth period is required to achieve adequate soil protection with InstaTurf—but its erosion resistance only increases over time as vegetation grows through the product.

InstaTurf provides the same soil protection as rock riprap and it looks good doing it. The simulated 3-dimentional turf structure raises the hydraulic shear plane away from the soil, but it also gives the area a green and lush appearance even before any vegetation growth. This evergreen look will improve solar development site aesthetics immediately upon installation. The critical public is more likely to support a green energy solution that is literally green as opposed to the gray and harsh appearance of hard armor erosion control products.

InstaTurf ShearForce products can be installed with just a few workers, no special training, and no heavy equipment. Finally, the easy choice is the most effective. InstaTurf ShearForce products help protect and beautify your solar development immediately upon installation and throughout the lifetime of the project.

Where to Learn More

We’ve put together a more detailed guide for using InstaTurf in the solar development space. Click the button below to download the PDF and see why InstaTurf is the clear choice for your solar project.

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