Massachusetts Landfill Looks Much Better with Solar on It

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Sullivan's Ledge Project. Source: BlueWave Capital

Solar on landfills is becoming a major trend. While large solar installations are often opposed when sited in more pleasant areas, everyone seems to agree that putting solar on otherwise unusable land is a great idea.

As the Rocky Mountain Institute just pointed out, Massachusetts has led the nation in siting solar on landfills.

Now, solar provider SunEdison (NYSE: SUNE), in partnership with BlueWave Capital of Boston, has announced the completion of a 1.8 MW DC solar power plant in the state. Like a few others in the news recently, this project was constructed on not just a landfill but a remediated EPA Superfund site.

The system was developed on approximately 10 acres of land on the remediated Sullivan’s Ledge landfill site in New Bedford. The project represents a significant step toward meeting the city’s goal to meet 60% of its electricity needs from solar power. The City of New Bedford is the owner and host of the site and will purchase the net metering credits generated from the system.

SunEdison partnered with BlueWave Capital to develop the project, arranged construction financing and permanent financing for the project, and managed local partners to provide EPC services. This project marks the second of three solar projects that SunEdison and BlueWave have developed for the City of New Bedford, a community that has been recognized nationally as being a leader in renewable energy.

“Projects like Sullivan Ledge demonstrate the opportunities that can be achieved through solar,” said Steve Raeder, SunEdison’s managing director of sales. “Working on a Superfund site can be challenging, but together with BlueWave Capital we successfully transformed a site that was once used to dispose of hazardous materials into a model solar project that will provide energy savings to the City of New Bedford for years to come.”

“Sullivan’s Ledge marks the latest chapter in the New Bedford solar success story,” said John DeVillars, the managing principal of BlueWave Capital and the former regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. “We are proud to have been a part of an exceptional team of professionals from the City, the EPA, the Massachusetts DEP, and of course SunEdison. This team has done a masterful job on an extraordinarily challenging project.”

In addition to owning and hosting the site, the City of New Bedford signed a 20-year net credit purchasing agreement with SunEdison at rates that will significantly reduce its electricity costs. The savings generated from the Sullivan’s Ledge system are estimated to total over $76,000 annually, and $1.8 million dollars over the term of the agreement.

“My administration is dedicated to furthering the City of New Bedford’s commitment to improving our city through solar projects such as Sullivan’s Ledge,” said Mayor Mitchell of New Bedford, Massachusetts. “Not only does the new system reduce energy costs, it also deepens community awareness of the many solar opportunities available.”