The last weeks of 2015 were a whirlwind for our crews as we wrapped up a number of projects before the end of the year. One of those remarkable projects was the 120 kilowatt (396 panels) installed for the City of Belfast at their former landfill on Pitcher Road in Belfast. While many municipalities are evaluating solar as a potential re-use of old landfills, Belfast was the first City to build such a project in Maine.
While there are some unique challenges to installing long-lived infrastructure like solar panels on a recovered landfill, the advantages are also obvious: this is land that is challenging to redevelop, and solar allows the municipality to turn the otherwise non-taxable and unproductive property into an energy-savings asset for the taxpayers.
This the second project we've installed for the City of Belfast, both under a Power Purchase Agreement (wherein a third-party purchases/installs the solar panels and sells the power generated by the panels to the City as a competitive rate, with the option to purchase the system outright after 6 years). This project was financed and installed by ReVision Energy.
"What really drove it for me was money," said [Belfast City Councilor] Hurley. "I look at energy costs as a total waste of money going up the chimneys or going to electric companies."
The system will provide around 20% of the City's municipal electricity use. Since roughly 10% of the City of Belfast's budget goes to energy costs - oil, electricity, and gas - any savings are of immediate benefit to the City's taxpayers.
Additional details on this project including size of the system and quotes from the City of Belfast are in this Free Press article: