The number of active municipal solid waste landfills that accept our household waste have been on a major decline, from nearly 8,000 in the late 1980s to less than 2,000 by the mid 2000s. All of the closed landfills around the country leave us with a big question: What to do with those plots of largely undevelopable land? "Many cities and towns — from Massachusetts to Colorado and Georgia to Nevada—are taking the same approach as Rutland, and using that unused and often unusable land to generate revenue and/or save on energy costs through solar farms." (renewableenergy.com)
What makes landfills such an ideal spot for solar? For one, often the disrupted or even contaminated land may not be suitable for commercial or residential development. Also, putting solar on landfill sites is often cheaper, less impactful, than building on a greenfield site. No one pays attention to what largely goes on behind the scenes of a dump and raises less community concerns. Another reason why landfills make such good areas to put solar farms on is the fact that many municipalities don’t have large areas of green space. However, it’s estimated that there are more than 10,000 old municipal landfills in the country, many of which are located in close proximity to an existing utility grid, making the interconnection economical.
Successfully implementing solar projects takes careful planning and conductivity to architectural and community pressures. Both of these requirements are met with these new landfill solar projects.