Vermont Business Magazine The Coventry landfill buffer zone will soon be home to the state's largest solar development. Borrego Solar Systems Inc, a leading designer, developer, installer and financier of grid-tied solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, today announced that it has partnered with Soltage Greenwood, a joint venture between Greenwood Energy and Soltage LLC to develop a solar project, launched by Casella Waste Systems on its Coventry, Vt. landfill site, which would be the largest project of its kind in Vermont.
The 2.7 megawatt (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 megawatt-hours 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 megawatts 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.
- 2.7 megawatt (MW) project capacity across 9,018 ground-mounted solar panels
- System is expected to produce 3,199 megawatt-hours annually, enough to power 261 homes for an entire year
- Largest landfill-to-solar project in Vermont
- Solar array will join an 8MW gas-to-energy generating facility in operation at the site
This project will sell its power to Vermont Electric Power Producers, Inc through the state's Sustainably Priced Energy Development (SPEED) program, one of the nation's foremost solar feed-in tariff programs.
By comparison, the 1 megawatt, 3,806 solar panel system, installed by REV Corporate Member Alteris Renewables at the corner of Route 7 and Monkton Road, will generate enough electricity to power approximately 170 homes per year. The solar array visible from I-89 in Sharon is a 2.2 MW facility.
“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.”
About Borrego Solar
Established in 1980, Borrego Solar Systems Inc. is one of the nation’s leading financiers, designers, developers and installers of commercial and utility solar power systems. Borrego Solar’s photovoltaic systems are efficient, reliable and cost-effective. With more than three decades of experience and more than 1,000 solar power installations completed—totaling close to 90 MW—Borrego Solar offers a complete line of solar systems design and installation services throughout the country. For more information, visit www.borregosolar.com.
About Greenwood Energy
Greenwood Energy (www.gwenergy.com) is the North American clean energy division of the Libra Group (www.libra.com), a privately owned international business group comprising 30 subsidiaries operating across four continents. Greenwood’s clean energy interests span the manufacture of sustainable fuels that replace coal; ownership of clean power generation plants such as fuel cell and combined heat and power (CHP); solar energy investment and development; and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for the solar sector. The Libra Group is predominantly focused on five core sectors: shipping, aviation, real estate, hospitality and energy. In addition to Greenwood's clean energy interests in the U.S., Libra Group companies own and operate solar and wind parks and biogas facilities throughout the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.
About Casella Waste Systems, Inc.
Casella Waste Systems, Inc., headquartered in Rutland, Vermont, provides solid waste management services consisting of collection, transfer, disposal, and recycling services in the northeastern United States. For further information, visit the company's website at www.casella.com.
Photo: Pile driving at the Coventry site for the solar panel installation. April 2014