Renewable energy projects—including both solar and wind—are on the rise, and the trend is expected to continue. This means more sites will be allocated for wind and solar farms in the coming years. Those sites will need to be accessed by crews and heavy machinery to install the equipment, and they will also need to be accessible for ongoing maintenance.
Understanding the types of access mats best suited for these types of projects is important for project managers, especially during the early planning phases of a project.
Common Site Considerations for Renewable Energy Projects
Before knowing what matting solutions are the best fit for your renewable energy projects, you have to consider the various scenarios you are likely to encounter. Some factors to take into account include:
In the grand scheme of site access, renewable energy projects are rather straightforward. Compared to power line and pipeline projects that go through all sorts of terrain, they tend to be in wide open land with relatively easy access. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t come with challenges, which is why it’s so important to work with an experienced site access vendor. You might encounter underground obstacles, variable weather that impacts the firmness of the ground, or other site challenges along the way.
Most renewable energy projects require compliance with a stormwater pollution prevention plan, and there may be additional environmental considerations. For example, you might have to make accommodations for an endangered species or ensure that you don’t transfer invasive species to or from the site.
To access the site, you may need to go through a right of way on private property or avoid impacting neighboring properties. When using a right of way, you’ll likely have to restore the site. The best way to approach this is by making minimal impact in the first place.
What Is Renewable Energy Matting for Site Access?
One of the first steps in renewable energy construction is creating safe access to the site. Unlike a pipeline or power line project that might require a floating road, wetland access, or equipotential zone (EPZ) mats, renewable energy site access often requires just a few types of mats:
These mats are made of timber or composite and create temporary roads. They distribute the weight of vehicles and heavy equipment so the ground below is left largely undisturbed. This is a cost-effective way to approach restoration because it will limit any replanting you may need to do at the site.
Designed to bear heavy loads, crane mats and outrigger mats are commonly used at wind energy sites when installing turbines. They not only create a stable work surface for cranes, but also minimize environmental impact.
Transition mats are essentially ramps that provide transitions between two different levels, ensuring a smooth ride for vehicles and heavy equipment.
OUTRAK™ Control Mats
If you’re working in a muddy site, must comply with regulations about tracking gravel into roadways, or are required to prevent the transfer of invasive species, OUTRAK™ mats help remove debris from tracks and tires as vehicles enter or leave the site.
Access Your Next Renewable Energy Project with YAK ACCESS
Most people don’t know what mats they need for site access. This is normal—it’s a specific type of expertise. Whether you know what you need based on previous projects or have never handled site access before, the YAK ACCESS team is here to help. We’ll work with you to ensure that every foot of the temporary road provides safe, cost-effective access for your team.
Want to dig deeper into the mats you need for your renewable energy project? Check out our guide, A Complete Guide to Selecting the Right Ground Protection Mats for Your Next Project, for more details.