May 19, 2013


Landfill sites find reuse as locations for solar electricity plants (Miranda Green, May 19, 2013, Daily Beast)

Many states and cities have long been turning trash into treasure by burning garbage to create heat and electricity, or by harvesting the methane gas that is released as junk decomposes. But in a new twist on this theme, several cities and municipalities are transforming capped landfills - the ultimate waste of space - into solar power plants.

"When you get done with a landfill that property's primary function can no longer be used anymore, it's a great pyramid of waste," said Mark Roberts, vice president of HDR, an engineering company that constructs solar voltaic landfills. "So the question is what do you do with these facilities when you've filled it up. What you can do is cap the landfill in such a way that it meets the EPA requirements but gives you an opportunity to still get benefits from its use."

Those benefits come in the form of renewable electricity. Instead of letting landfills sit for years as the land settles and compacts, towns can place solar panels on the wide-open space and continue to make money from the energy collected. "In order to make old systems work properly you have to maintain the grass, fertilize and mow and maintain them for perpetuity, about 20 plus years," said Roberts. "We do these exposed solar caps and the maintenance goes down significantly and there's an economic incentive there."

Walmart announces completion of 8 solar arrays at Mass. stores (Chris Reidy, MAY 16, 2013, Boston Globe)

Eight of the 50 Walmarts in Massachusetts now have such systems, a company spokesman said. The other local Walmarts with solar arrays are in Springfield, Ware, Lunenberg, Northbridge, Halifax, Abington, and Tewksbury, he said.

Collectively, the installations at those eight Walmarts are projected to provide 2.8 million kilowatt hours of energy annually, saving about 1,484 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually - roughly the equivalent of taking 309 cars off the road, Walmart said.

Posted by at May 19, 2013 9:32 AM

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