According to RMI, landfills may house over 60 GW of solar

According to RMI, landfills may house over 60 GW of solar

The Prospect of Landfills Is Brilliant, a report from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), provides a framework for evaluating the value of solar electricity put on landfills. According to the analysis, over 63 GW of the solar power plant capacity could be installed in less than half of America’s landfills, producing 83 terawatt-hours of electricity annually across all 50 states. The facilities could also generate over $6.6 billion in annual electrical revenue.

The research advises local governments on how to best utilize these resources, such as the concerns that must be made when constructing on landfills and how to establish a financially sustainable sector for the selling of solar energy. It covers several required governmental processes as well as advice on how to obtain the data needed for landfill siting initiatives.

At the end of 2019, the US Environmental Protection Agency reported that 428 MWac of the utility-scale (exceeding 1 MWac) landfill solar has been installed across 126 sites. Specifically, 73 percent of all utility-scale landfill solar projects in the United States are located in Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York. To put it another way, if the facilities cost $1.50 per watt to develop, the capacity that RMI research forecasts would require a little under $95 billion. Municipal electricity cooperatives or community solar initiatives might sell the electricity directly for $8/kWh, creating $6.6 billion in first-year revenue.

If the sites were owned and run by third companies, and towns leased the land for $1,000 per acre, the hosting jurisdictions might earn about $217 million each year. Landfill solar capacity would nearly quadruple the Biden administration’s target of doubling community solar capacity sevenfold in 5 years, while also expanding total solar power capacity in the United States by about 58 percent from 108 GWdc at the close of the 2nd quarter of 2021.

A lack of data was highlighted in the report: Only 43% of the nation’s 10,000 closed landfills had public information available, according to the RMI authors. The report’s first recommendation is to gather as much information as possible regarding the remaining sites. Of course, once more data has been gathered, it must be made public.

Each site must supply critical data in order to determine the whole potential of landfill solar. The condition of the landfill cap (the seal that keeps the material in), site grade, existing infrastructure, settlement history, and operations, on-site electrical consumption data, and community concerns are all physical characteristics that must be considered.

RMI made the criteria it used to construct its model for all the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands available to those governments interested in crunching their figures. With a solar panel output of 9.5 watts for every square foot, RMI believes that solar could use 70% of the landfill land area studied.

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