The installation is the third application of solar landfill technology in the U.S., which involves flexible solar panels as a cover for a landfill site. "This is a technologically advanced solution that is actually very simple at its core," said Bob Boucher, senior vice president, operations for Republic.
The U.S. Environmental Proection Agency says there is a huge potential in closed landfill applications with there being 100,000 such landfills across the country. Furthermore, many of these landfills are close to urban areas that could utilize the energy.
The Hickory Ridge cover uses Sepctro PowerCap technology, and was buit by Carlisle Energy Services. It takes the place of clay or soil usually used to seal a landfill site but also generates renewable electricity.
Republics Hickory Ridge installation cost USD$7 million, $5 million came from Republic with the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority providing the additional $2 million. These latter funds were sourced from the Federal Governments stimulus spending packages.
The Hickory Ridge installation uses almost 7,000 solar panels over 10 acres of a 45-acre site.
The Carlisle team were particularly pleased with the one MW installation as it confirms that the technology is suitable for megawatt-scale projects. The installations geomembrane, onto which the solar panels are affixed, also capture gases released from the landfill. Republic says the cover at Hickory Ridge is soon to complimented by a gas to energy project.