By: Paul Curran, Managing Director at BQ Energy and Jack Honor, Project Development Manager of Solar at Ameresco
As our overall demand for energy keeps rising, we are seeing more and more landfills and other brownfields being used as solar-photovoltaic power generating installations. Many landfill owners are public entities paying thousands or tens of thousands of dollars a year to maintain and insure these sites–so solar power can generate positive cash flow from an otherwise useless site.
What should landfill owners know about developing solar?
Many landowners have expressed surprise with how long it takes to transform a brownfield into a brightfield–but how quickly the actual physical transformation takes place. That is, it may take years to move from concept through regulatory reviews to the beginning of construction, and then just weeks or months from there to completion. The transformation from blight to benefit, not just financially but also environmentally, can be quick once all the reviews and plans are complete.
Across our country, some states are more “solar friendly” than others. But even if your state falls in the less friendly category, solar-on-landfill projects are worth pursuing. We’ve found the most persuasive argument from an environmental and community standpoint is the potential for positive reuse of a site, turning a community liability into an asset.
One question to consider is, “How can the residents of my community benefit from such a project?” When the answer is eliminating blight, securing an environmental liability, creating jobs and environmental education opportunities, and producing clean, green energy, converting brownfields to brightfields for most people is a very logical decision.
Paul Curran, Managing Director at BQ Energy and Jack Honor, Project Development Manager of Solar at Ameresco will be presenting at TRC’s Developing Solar on Brownfields & Landfills Conference on June 12-13, 2017 in Chicago, IL.