Borrego Solar Systems has partnered with Soltage Greenwood, a joint venture between Greenwood Energy and Soltage to develop a solar project, launched by Casella Waste Systems on its Coventry, Vermont landfill site.
The 2.7MW project will sell power to Vermont Electric Power Producers (VEPP), a purchasing agent appointed by the Vermont Public Service Board, under Vermont’s Sustainably Priced Energy Development (SPEED) Standard Offer Program — one of the nation’s first feed-in-tariff programs. The project, initiated by Casella Waste Systems with ownership transferred to Borrego Solar in November 2013, is being designed and built by Borrego Solar and financed by Greenwood Energy. The energy produced by the system is expected to generate approximately 3,199 megawatt-hours annually, enough to power 261 homes for an entire year.
Now in its construction phase, the 9,018-panel ground-mount solar array will be installed on the site’s buffer zone, which is not slated for waste. The site currently hosts the only active landfill in the state, as well as an 8 MW gas-to-energy generating facility that utilizes the methane captured from both the active and capped sections of the landfill.
"Greenwood Energy has been a strong partner in solar energy development in the region. This is our third project together and we’re very proud to install Vermont’s first landfill solar project, especially as we’ve seen landfill solar installations become a rising trend across the country," said Joe Harrison, project developer at Borrego Solar. "The site’s vacant buffer distance offers the perfect opportunity to put otherwise unused land to productive, clean energy-generating use. With our proven track record of solar project development around the country, this project is the first of many installations Borrego Solar hopes to bring to Vermont."
This is Borrego Solar’s sixth wholesale distributed generation (WDG) project, and to date, the company has developed and installed a total of 17.3 MW of solar energy capacity on seven active and capped landfills in the United States.
Landfills and their buffer lands make especially compelling locations for solar energy systems as they are generally close to interconnection systems and are built on already disrupted and cleared land, as in the typical case of a capped landfill, or in vacant buffer zones, such as in the case of the Coventry site. Demand for financing landfill installations through power purchase agreements (PPAs) — a mechanism that allows landfill owners to go solar without paying any upfront costs — is also rising.