Atkinson, Nebraska Municipal Solar

  • Date: 2018
  • Client: Atkinson, Nebraska
  • Project Type: Municipal Solar

The City of Atkinson formerly used the site for fill, a place where soil, trees, and debris were brought then covered with dirt. Because of the nature of the site, project construction initially saw particular challenges. With embedment depths up to 30 feet—three times the norm—needed for proper installation of the foundation, using longer than normal I-beams would have added significant costs for construction and material. Moreover, loose soil and debris could cause refusal of the post for a regular piledriver.

The City of Atkinson wanted a tracked system that could provide enough energy to offset the energy consumption of their Water Treatment Plant. Through NPPD’s Buy-Sell Solar Rider, Atkinson can create long-term cash flow for the city through the production of solar energy.

Project developer GenPro Energy Solutions, who specializes in municipal solar development throughout the Midwest, brings design and custom energy solution integration expertise to the project while RPCS helped drive a creative solution to a complex engineering issue.

The site features DuraTrack HZ v3 single-axis solar trackers by Array Technologies, supplied by RPCS, Array’s DG partner. Array’s mounting technology keeps the modules following the sun on its course throughout the day, ensuring up to a 20 to 25% increase in energy production over fixed-tilt systems. RPCS designs and installs Array tracker systems throughout the country, with hundreds of projects completed to date in the utility and distributed generation markets.



The project uses TerraSmart‘s innovative ground screw foundation posts, a seamless solution to the challenging nature of the site’s subsurface conditions. TerraSmart’s ground screws have a better ability to resist uplift than I-beams in loose soil and can drill into debris, reducing upfront construction costs and eliminating subsurface risks.

“This project is a great example of how teamwork, engineering, and innovative solutions can help overcome site challenges and result in the most efficient design for all parties involved. GenPro’s value engineering, Array’s superior grade tolerance, and TerraSmart’s unique foundation posts all allowed for a system that will maximize power production for the City of Atkinson,” says RPCS Sales Director Dylan Wraga. “There were underground challenges that TerraSmart’s solution was well suited to, and combined with Array’s reliable architecture this system will be producing clean power for many years to come.”

“It is exciting to come up with a unique solution for a site that has an ideal location in relation to the facility we’re looking to power,” says Molly Brown, GenPro’s VP of Energy Production. “The ability to use Array trackers with TerraSmart ground screws will allow us to maximize production on what would normally be considered a difficult site. It’s a very exciting project to be a part of.”

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