The 2.7-MW project will sell power to Vermont Electric Power Producers Inc. (VEPP Inc.), 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 MWh annually, enough to power 261 homes for an entire year.
“I am very proud that in three years we have more than tripled the amount of solar energy in Vermont, leading to our number one ranking nationally in solar jobs per capita,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin. “Coventry is already home to a successful landfill gas energy project, and now the Coventry landfill solar array will add another 2.7 MW of renewable energy to the grid. This project is making productive use of this site, and is another example of how solar benefits Vermont’s economy and our environment.”
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.
“We’re pleased to once again partner with Borrego Solar, and are excited to help add new solar power capacity in Vermont,” said Camilo Patrignani, CEO of Greenwood Energy. “Access to upfront capital, long-term project financing through power purchase agreements, and our turnkey approach to development is critical for projects like this one to become a reality while requiring zero upfront costs from Casella Waste Systems.”
“We were pleased to offer our landfill site in Coventry as an asset for a solar energy system,” said John Casella, CEO chairman of Casella Waste Systems. “The installation will allow us to utilize the entire property for energy generation, as the rest of the site is already doing so through methane capture and conversion. We’re proud to be a company that is looking at renewing and sustaining resources in an integrative way.”