EPA, Local Governments Launching Giant Solar Project, with Landfill Site Key

EPA, Local Governments Launching Giant Solar Project, with Landfill Site Key

A California solar project with a county landfill in Hayward as the centerpiece is launching, representing the largest local government collaborative for solar power in the United States to date and the nation’s first federal solar partnership.

Contra Costa County’s West Winton Landfill is a prime part of the project, which involves 19 local agencies in four San Francisco Bay Area counties involving 186 solar facilities that will generate 31 megawatts of solar power in all, according to a news release.

The project will repurpose the Winton landfill with the installation of 19,000 photovoltaic solar panels to generate more than 6 megawatts of renewable power. It will be the first of its kind in California’s Bay Area and one of the largest in the state. The EPA also is launching a federal solar project, the first federal partnership to purchase solar power across multiple agencies, which was inspired by the success of the regional solar project and other Bay Area efforts.  Like the regional project, the federal partnership–Forest Service, Department of Energy and General Services Administration–will take advantage of economies of scale in solar installation at nine federal sites in San Jose, Menlo Park, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Bruno, Santa Rosa, Carson City, Reno and Mare Island.

The project that includes the Winton Landfill is called the Regional Renewable Energy Procurement Project (R-REP), a collaborative effort by local governments within the Bay Area to purchase solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for on-site generation at public facilities. Purchasing collaboratively addresses resource limitations and lack of expertise that stand as barriers to renewable energy adoption by local governments.

The R-REP program has the potential to generate enough renewable power for 6,188 average-sized homes in the Bay Area, at sites such as community centers, libraries, fire stations, medical facilities, city halls and educational facilities.

The project also claims to have the potential to create 839 jobs and save $108 million in costs.

Solar projects at landfills have continued to add up. Boston’s Blue Wave Capital said in April it is still interested in bringing a solar project to the capped landfill in Amherst, Mass., after a lawsuit was dropped against the solar arrays on a previous proposal.

And the previous month, Vermont’s Windham Solid Waste Management District said it is going forward is with what could eventually be the largest solar power project in the state.

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