Hanwha Q CELLS completes first US solar farm on a Superfund site

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Germany’s Hanwha Q CELLS has completed the first utility-scale solar project constructed on an active Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site.

Located on 43 acres () of the Reilly Tar & Chemical Superfund site in Indianapolis, Indiana, the 10.86MWdc Maywood Solar Farm was completed under the 2012 Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL) feed-in tariff, or Rate Renewable Energy Production (Rate REP) program.

The U.S. government’s Superfund initiative, overseen by the EPA, is part of a federal law designed to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants.

Q CELLS and its partners, including the EPA, Vertellus Specialties Inc., the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and IPL, realized the project without additional federal, state, local or corporate incentives and used conventional solar project financing.

Construction began in July 2013 and was completed in March 2014, using high-efficiency Q CELLS Q.PRO L polycrystalline modules. The Maywood Solar Farm will operate for up to 30 years.

"The completion of the Maywood Superfund project is a significant milestone for Hanwha Q CELLS, but also for the solar industry as a whole in overcoming the legal, financial, regulatory and construction hurdles to create a virtuous cycle, and develop a higher use for brownfield, idle land,” said Hanwha Q CELLS CEO Charles Kim.

"In completing a non-subsidized Superfund project, Hanwha Q CELLS has broken a barrier that has frustrated solar project developers for more than 20 years. We are looking forward to future, similar projects."

The company said it completed project construction at or below, market costs while managing additional site and environmental requirements. Q CELLS employed an internally-developed and adaptive construction methodology with the EPA and in line with existing environmental guidelines for the site.

"This innovative solar project demonstrates that Superfund sites can be redeveloped to generate economic benefits for the local community and clean renewable energy for homes and businesses," said EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman. "U.S. EPA is proud to have played a role in the Maywood Solar Farm project, which has transformed a site with a long history of contamination into a source of renewable energy for the future."

The project will reduce CO2 emissions by more than 13,000 metric tons per year – equal to the annual carbon emissions of more than 2,700 passenger cars or 1,800 Indiana residential homes.