Fixing a loose leg on the solar panel ground mount

The left front leg on my ground mount rack has been loose for an embarrassingly long time; I discovered it in early Spring and only now have gotten around to fixing it. Not a lot of excuse, just kept, er, forgetting. But Winter is Coming, and it’s time to clean out the to-do list I’ve been ignoring most of the summer.

First, jack up that corner…

Simple one: Big Brother sent me a bunch of jacks two summers ago, mostly to shore up the cabin floor but I saved the best one for general purposes. It’s not the first time it’s been put to this particular purpose. In Landlady’s case it was poor anchoring in heavy wind: In my case it’s poor anchoring in poor soil. Since I can’t fix the problem with braces like with hers, I went deeper and wider and pounded in a bunch of rebar.

Deeper and wider was really the hard part.


Dig some more, loosen up the bolts holding the leg still on the rack, pull it aside with a rope and then dig some more.

Pound in some rebar, then go get the concrete sacks out of Landlady’s barn …where they’ve been waiting all summer. Ahem.

Three sacks of concrete later…

It’s deeper, it’s wider, and then I pounded in the last of the rebar I’d cut for the purpose through the wet concrete and into the ground.

Oughta stay still this time.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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5 Responses to Fixing a loose leg on the solar panel ground mount

  1. Ben says:

    That looks like a good fix. Foundation tubes are great for the above-ground portion of a foundation, but not so great for the underground part, because they hold the concrete away from the compacted earth, when the whole purpose of a foundation is to connect the structure to the earth!

  2. RCPete says:

    I did a 12-panel solar system for our well. Soil was pumice and clay*, and historical winds have beaten 60mph. The mounting supplier (Iron Ridge) has an online tool to give a design, but the county building people insisted on a state certified engineer to do the plans.

    Best $250 I spent on the project. Local wind requirements are now 105mph (in ’03, it was 85, but we might have actually seen that once), and strong winds can come from any direction except east. (Probably. Not counting on east winds being nice, anyway.) So, the final design was a bit more robust than the original. Had to get a contractor to do the 12″ 8′ deep holes. They did the concrete work, too. 6 holes, and it took a full concrete truck

    One nice feature was insertion of a locking key to keep the 3″ pipe in the concrete. Through hole near the end, with 1/2″ all-thread, sticking out an inch on each side.

    (*) Easy to dig, but lousy for support. The alternative entails a bunch of shale, which has its own set of headaches.

  3. Mike says:

    Good job, that ought to hold the panel in place for a while. Those small scissor jacks can be very handy for light lifts like this.

  4. Goober says:

    I’m a huge proponent with augered foundations to pour against the Earth. Sonotubes are good for above grade. Pouring against banked earth is best. Pouring against a sonotube and then backfilling around it is far less effective.

  5. PaulB says:

    Hopefully it will stay in place. Given the soil you have I would want a lot deeper. ReBar drive down might help. Can’t really see it in the photos.

To the stake with the heretic!