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Former Landfills Becoming Solar Farms

By Paul Tuthill


Springfield,MA – Solarfarms

Former municipal landfills in Massachusetts that have been covered and left unused for years are being eyed as locations for renewable energy production. State officials are encouraging cities and towns to consider turning the former dumps into solar farms .WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports .

More than two dozen communities across Massachusetts have projects in the works to install solar panels on top of their capped and covered landfills, according to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.. The state's Energy Secretary, Richard Sullivan encourages more cities and towns to investigate this possible re-use of otherwise un-productive open space
If done right, Sullivan says the solar projects can also produce revenue for municipalities, and reduce energy bills..
Solar farms tend not to generate the sighting controversies that come with other renewable energy developments, such as wind and biomass .
Sullivan says developing former landfills into solar farms can help Massachusetts reach its goal of producing 250 megawatts from solar power by 2017 .
Massachusetts is solar power development with its Solar Renewable Energy Certificates program. Under this program,one credit for each megawatt hour a solar project generates is sold at auction to utility companies which are required by the state to purchase six percent of their power from renewable sources.. Dwayne Breger, the director of the renewable energy division at the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources says prices for the solar renewable energy certificates can go as high as 550 dollars ten times that of other renewable energy credits .
Western Massachusetts Electric Company announced plans last month to develop a 4 point 2 megawatt solar energy facility on a former landfill on Cottage Street in the city of Springfield. Construction on the 22 million dollar project is expected to start this spring.
The chief development officer for Springfield, John Judge says two other solar farm projects have been proposed in the city, including one on a brownfields site
Other communities in Western Massachusetts that are involved with projects to put solar panels on former landfills include Easthampton, Greenfield and Amherst.