The topic of green energy has been a mainstay in the world’s news headlines for years. But several factors have placed an even greater emphasis on the subject in recent months. The Environmental Protection Agency’s aggressive stance on fossil fuels has made it clear that the march toward green energy has become a sprint. Sharply rising costs for gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas have also turned green energy from an environmentally responsible option to an economic necessity. As the demand for large solar farms grows, global supply chain issues and labor shortages mean developers must take an efficient approach to remain viable and profitable.
The Birth of a Solar Farm
On February 18, 2021, the Ohio Power Siting Board approved Yellowbud Solar, LLC’s application to construct a 274-megawatt solar farm in Pickaway County, Ohio. Upon completion, the solar facility will occupy a 2,040-acre project area and consist of large arrays of ground-mounted photovoltaic modules that are mounted on a tracking system that will rotate to track the sun. Yellowbud Solar and National Grid contracted one of North America’s largest engineering and construction organizations, for the construction of the project. The contract required that the contractor install fencing simultaneously as the panels were installed to help prevent theft, unlawful entry, and possible injury.
Calling on the Fencing Experts
The scale of the fencing installation, including nearly 20 miles of fencing and 14,000 wooden posts secured in cement, mandated an approach that would be efficient and safe. The contractor looked to EZG Manufacturing, based in Malta, Ohio, for its well-known tools of the fence installation trade. Included were the Barbwire Hog and its accompanying Stretch-N-Go attachment, the Fence Hog, and the Mobile Mud Hog.
The Fence Hog maximizes productivity through dramatically increased efficiency. In fact, it can provide the productivity of a four-person crew with two or three men. Fencing industry veterans assisted in the design and development of the Fence Hog. They needed a product that picked up a fence roll from the ground without great physical effort. The Fence Hog also provides efficiency through capacity—holding up to 100 feet of chain link or 330 of woven wire, so constant reloading is unnecessary.
The Barbwire Hog provides similar efficiency for barbwire. It holds three 36-inch rolls of barbwire and can install up to three strands simultaneously and unroll it directly against fence posts. The EZG Stretch-N-Go Barbwire Dispenser holds four 330-foot rolls or two 660-foot rolls of barbwire and loads with a standard skid-steer. Its adjustable braking system allows the tension to be modulated precisely and easily. The Stretch-N-Go labor-saving trifecta includes stretching as it dispenses, a large capacity for quarter mile of installation between reloads and dispensing tautly directly against fence posts.
The landscape was not conducive to a cement truck, but the contractor found an effective alternative in the EZG Mobile Mud Hog mixer, designed for use with a standard skid steer. The crew could mix cement while moving the Mud Hog along the fence lines. Unnecessary steps are eliminated because the Mud Hog is easy to load and unload and the mixer can be moved to the materials. It also features a water bar that makes it easy to fill. The Mud Hog negates the need for a cement truck which could cause damage to the landscape.
When fully operational, the Yellowbud Solar Farm will positively impact the local economy and environment. It will offset carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 392,000 tons per year—the equivalent of removing more than 80,000 cars off the road. The project also illustrates how dedication to innovation in construction as well as energy is making work safer, faster, and more efficient.
I was already familiar with EZG and knew they had quality products, so I had no reluctance in choosing the Fence Hog, Mud Hog and Barbwire Hog for the Yellowbud project. They were definitely up to the task.Tony Schweiger Site Supervisor