The Atacama Desert is one of the largest deserts in South America. This is one of the places where Geointec has acquired extensive field experience by performing several geotechnical surveys and on-site Pull Out tests studies.
A Geointec team moved to the south of the Atacama Desert, in the Antofagasta region of Chile, to conduct the Geotechnical Studies for the construction of a photovoltaic solar plant that will have a nominal power of about 200 MW.
In the planning phase of the survey, the technical department of Geointec at the Central Headquarters in Madrid, Spain, established two methodologies for the execution of the tests: Direct ramming and ramming with previous “Pre-drilling” operation.
Fieldwork was carried out on an area of 88 hectares, beside Lascar and Llullaillaco volcanoes. For approximately 20 days the tests were performed at 280 different locations. Lateral and axial upwards load tests were carried out on steel profiles of 4 meters length.
Two teams worked simultaneously ramming the 280 profiles and testing all of them in the area where the solar plant will be built. Both teams, leaded by a civil engineer and a geolotechnical engineer with extensive experience in the field, had all the specific machinery and elements to run the tests: ramming machine, with drilling kit, backhoe machine, telehandler and all the measurement equipment.
The results of the field work were processed by our team of engineers at the Geointec headquarters, obtaining and verifying the resistance load parameter of the soil in front of the loads tested and provided by the solar tracker manufacturer.
The solar plant is expected to be connected to the national electricity system at the Los Andes substation to provide power to the entire region.