Success in such projects helps municipalities move closer to achieving their sustainability goals. These two Maryland projects provide value to their communities by lowering greenhouse gas emissions, providing renewable energy and environmental integrity, and creating jobs and savings for taxpayers. That’s a win for Maryland and its citizens.
Closed landfills require significant maintenance and environmental compliance expenditures for many years, more often decades. Recent changes in federal tax law under the Inflation Reduction Act have dramatically improved opportunities for public and private sector landfills to convert a liability to an income-producing asset. The Inflation Reduction Act includes provisions for a 30% investment tax credit for solar projects with other provisions that can increase this incentive to as much as 50%. There are also equivalent provisions for direct payment to non-taxpaying entities such as cities and counties. An excellent summary has been prepared by the law firm of Holland & Knight and is available here.”
Two Maryland counties are among recent SCS Engineers’ clients who are converting their idle properties into revenue-generators that serve their communities—they are installing solar farms, a growing trend on closed landfills. The Oaks Landfill in Montgomery County, MD, is one.
The Oaks Landfill Photovoltaic Array project will be a 6-megawatt (MW) system on 170 acres of the closed landfill, the largest solar project on county property. Governed through a power purchase agreement, two MWs are allocated for the County. The other four MWs are for a community solar project, with 100% of the electricity generated, provided to low and moderate-income subscribers. In total the solar energy system is expected to generate 11.4 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year – enough to power 930 homes. The solar power is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as taking 1,740 cars off the road.
It will be one of the largest solar farms nationwide to allocate all power to disadvantaged communities. The array is on schedule to operate in 2023.
Siting solar energy installations
Ideal sites for these facilities are fairly flat (preferably less than 15% slope) with open spaces conducive to photovoltaic system installation. Favorable sites are also in close proximity to utility connection points providing developers a viable means to bring their product to market and consumers. While properties like closed landfills provide ideal locations, the projects command a robust multidisciplinary redevelopment approach. Important skills for successfully engineering and permitting these projects include landfill engineering expertise and experience with state and local permitting processes.
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