If you’re not installing solar on a landfill, you’re missing out on a big solar opportunity. Put solar on a Superfund site and you’re taking the benefits even further. We’re starting to see more news about this great use of land that had been deemed unusable.
Today, Hanwha Q CELLS, an international solar provider, announced they’re getting in on the trend in the U.S. -- in a big way. The company has completed the first utility-scale solar project constructed on an active EPA Superfund site.
The 10.86 MW DC Maywood Solar Farm, located on 43 acres of the Reilly Tar & Chemical Superfund site in Indianapolis, was completed under the 2012 Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL) Rate-REP program. It’s interesting to note that the project was done without additional federal, state, local, or corporate incentives and used conventional solar project financing. As solar financing matures, this kind of scenario will only become more common.
Construction on the project began in July 2013, and it was finished in March 2014. The installation uses high-efficiency Q CELLS Q.PRO L polycrystalline modules, engineered by Hanwha Q CELLS in Germany. The Maywood Solar Farm will operate for up to 30 years and reduce CO2 emissions by more than 13,000 metric tons per year, equal to the annual carbon emissions of more than 2,700 passenger cars or 1,800 Indiana homes.
Project partners included the US EPA, Vertellus Specialties Inc., Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indiana Power & Light (NYSE: AES), PNC Bank, August Mack Environmental Consulting, URS Corporation, US Utilities, and Solar FlexRack.
Hanwha Q CELLS CEO Charles Kim remarked, “The completion of the Maywood Superfund project is a significant milestone for Hanwha Q CELLS, but also for the solar industry as a whole in overcoming the legal, financial, regulatory and construction hurdles to create a virtuous cycle, and develop a higher use for brownfield, idle land. In completing a non-subsidized Superfund project, Hanwha Q CELLS has broken a barrier that has frustrated solar project developers for more than 20 years. We are looking forward to future, similar projects.”
Hanwha Q CELLS completed project construction at, or below, market costs -- while managing additional site and environmental requirements. Hanwha Q CELLS employed an internally developed and adaptive construction methodology in concert with US EPA to meet existing site environmental covenants. The company says that their proprietary Hanwha Q CELLS Soil Disturbance Minimization Plan resulted in a volume reduction of site soil movement of more than 93% over conventional construction approaches -- crucial at a Superfund site, where it was important to minimize the potential for exposing known underground hazards, impairing the existing site environmental remedy, or creating human exposure to site hazards.
“This innovative solar project demonstrates that Superfund sites can be redeveloped -- to generate economic benefits for the local community and clean renewable energy for homes and businesses," said US EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman. "US EPA is proud to have played a role in the Maywood Solar Farm project, which has transformed a site with a long history of contamination into a source of renewable energy for the future."