Ojjo closes funding round for its ground-mount solar foundations business

Solar foundations company Ojjo said it closed a $40 million Series C funding round led by NGP ETP and with Ajax Strategies also participating. 

In addition, James Wallis, partner at NGP, has joined Ojjo’s board of directors. The new funding is expected to speed Ojjo’s growth and execution on its 9 GW project pipeline. 

The company’s product is intended to reduce the amount of steel and labor needed to install a solar array’s foundation. It said its system has been contracted or constructed in 1.6 GW of solar projects to date, including Gemini Solar. 

Ojjo had earlier raised $27 million across two prior funding rounds, with participation from Cthulhu Ventures among others.

Ojjo’s business model aims to address what it sees as shortcomings with traditional pile foundations that may not be suited for every solar application. The company aims to address the market for solar-specific mounting and installation hardware, and says that solar foundations represent a “major untapped opportunity in the industry.” 

The company’s Earth Truss structure resembles an A-frame structure that is made up of underground anchors, above ground legs, and a truss cap. The underground portion can have screw threads or helical flights, depending on the soil type. Ojjo partners with Drill Tech Drilling and Shoring to complete the foundations. 

Heavy and cumbersome

To date, the most common method for securing ground mount frames has relied either on heavy steel piles driven deep into the ground, or concrete ballasts. The weight and size of these foundations is determined by the forces acting on the frame. Typically they need to be heavy making them somewhat cumbersome. 

Such ground mount frames often also need to be braced to protect against lateral forces. This is usually done with rolled steel cross brace sections.

Bracing and anchoring frames using these methods work well for most sites on flat, easily accessible land. However, when solar PV installations are sited in remote locations, hilly or mountainous terrain, these methods can be difficult to execute.

Delivering materials to site can be an expensive logistical challenge with traditional foundations and bracing adding tons of steel to haulage requirements. On top of this, these methods also require heavy plant machinery for installation, which also must be transported to and from site and can be limited by ground conditions.

In response, new lightweight easy-to-install products have been developed to brace and anchor solar ground mount frames and are already helping EPC companies and PV contractors to install on otherwise unusable land.

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Author: Renewable Energy World

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