The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority is putting in a six-acre array of solar panels on a section of its Hartford landfill. The solar project coincides with the authority's plan to cap the remaining 35-acre section of the landfill.
The cap and one-megawatt solar array will cost the trash-to-energy authority about $11.6 million and will make the landfill the first in the state to develop its limited-use real estate into a renewable energy project.
Across the country, there are more than 70 similar projects on contaminated sites, former landfills or mined areas that create 216 megawatts of clean energy, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Most are solar projects, like Hartford's, but others include wind power, wood-burning biomass, hydropower and geothermal.
"When we began working with the city of Hartford on the future of the landfill, we wanted to find innovative ways to use the land," CRRA President Thomas D. Kirk said in a written statement. "Solar energy was an idea we all agreed on right away."
Output from the solar panels will receive an 11-cent per kilowatt hour subsidy from the Zero Emissions Renewable Energy Credit program, Connecticut Light & Power's clean energy effort mandated by the state. The cost of building the project will be covered by a CRRA fund dedicated to closing the landfill.
E. T. & L. Corp., hired to close up the final 35-acre part of the landfill and put in the solar array, will first install a synthetic grass surface that will ensure that water doesn't seep through the landfill waste and contaminate the groundwater.
In 2007, CRRA began closing the landfill, and the state Department of Energy And Environmental Protection approved the plans for a solar array in 2011.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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