Trash into Treasure: Largest Landfills-to-Solar Project to Begin in Massachusetts

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Massachusetts continues its push for solar as Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and the town of Dennis embark on a 22 MW solar project. This project, which includes a whopping 19.5 MW of solar located on capped landfills, will be the largest of landfill solar project undertaken in the United States.

The sun keeps shining on solar in Massachusetts. Construction has begun on nine new solar projects in the state. Of the 22 MW of solar energy to be produced from these projects, a whopping 19.5 MW will be located on capped landfills. This will be the largest group of solar landfill projects ever in the United States.

American Capital Energy, Inc. (ACE) has begun construction on these solar projects and will use local labor for construction. Clean Focus Corporation (Clean Focus) financed and will own and operate the portfolio. These systems will generate 28,578 megawatt-hours of electricity in the first year of operation, the average amount of power used by 3,797 homes in Massachusetts. Net-metering credits will be sold to several towns in the Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative (CVEC) and to the town of Dennis under nine different 20-year agreements. This is interesting in light of the net metering bill currently being discussed in the Massachusetts legislature, which would extend the cap on the policy.

Stanley Chin, President & CEO of Clean Focus Corporation, declared, “These projects highlight the ability of solar power not only to generate clean renewable energy but also to repurpose unproductive land to a positive use,” Thomas Hunton, President and CEO of ACE, added, “American Capital Energy is pleased to develop and construct solar projects on landfills. Solar deployed on landfills is the perfect application…. Covering all of the capped landfills and brownfields in the United States with solar could make enough electricity to power our nation on sunlight alone.”

Many communities seem to agree. We recently reported on two other solar projects sited on landfills. In Delaware, Dupont converted a superfund site into a 5-acre solar project. In New York City, the world’s largest former landfill is being converted into the city’s biggest solar plant. Of course, this is not the first example of land reclaimed for solar in Massachusetts. In January, the city of Stow completed a 2.5MW solar project on a former brownfield site, reclaiming 12 acres of land. That project is expected to provide electricity for 300 homes each year.

 

It looks like 2014 is off to a sunny start for Massachusetts. It will be exciting to watch as more previously undesirable land is reclaimed to provide solar power in the months to come.