Have you seen the solar panel arrays on the side of major highways?  Look fast, because some states are moving away from this practice. That means other sites that fit the model for the cost-effective deployment of this source of renewable energy will be needed to meet the growing need for solar power.

Need for Solar Power

According to the White House publication ‘Fact Sheet: Administration Announces New Initiative to Increase Solar Access for All Americans’, in 2014 the United States brought online as much solar energy every three weeks as it did in all of 2008, and the solar industry added jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy.  And since the beginning of 2010, the average cost of a solar electric system has dropped by 50 percent.  The federal government has set numerous solar power goals including the installation of 300 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy in federally subsidized housing and providing technical assistance to make it easier to install solar, including clarifying how to use Federal funding.

Most states have set their own renewable energy goals.  In the state of Massachusetts, the July 2008 Green Communities Act allows utilities to install up to 50 MW of solar generation. This goal was subsequently increased to 250 MW of solar power by 2017.

Power Company Pilot Projects

Power companies have implemented solar power pilot projects to test the potential of large-scale solar sites to generate clean energy.  In Massachusetts, power provider National Grid implemented five pilot projects that averaged 1 MW of power generation.  Projects this size typically encompass between 2,000 to 4,000 solar panels installed on a 2-4 acre property.  These pilot projects are in urban settings that are near existing electrical distribution lines.  Several of these pilot sites are built at large environmental sites (e.g., historic manufactured gas plants), making it an ideal location for a solar project because of the contaminated land has limited reuse capability.

Offset the Cost of Post-Closure Landfill Monitoring with a Solar Array Site

Many municipalities have closed landfills that encompass a large area of land with an unobstructed view of the sun.  These sites are ideal to establish a solar array.  Profits from the generation of this renewable energy can pay for the cost of monitoring the closed landfill, with larger arrays able to produce a positive cash flow. In some cases, energy providers will pay for the cost of infrastructure improvements to establish the solar arrays so they may add the power to their electricity grid.

Contact us for more information about establishing a solar array on your Brownfield site or closed landfill.