Wednesday, January 11, 2012

ES Receives Solar Energy Grant

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) are working together to provide technical
assistance to assess the feasibility of developing solar energy projects
on closed landfills. The City of Tucson applied to be part of the
program and is one of 26 entities selected. The City submitted an
application for technical assistance which will evaluate at least five
of the City’s closed landfills.

The development of renewable energy has been a goal of the Tucson Mayor
and City Council and the Environmental Services Department (ES). The
City owns sixteen old landfills that comprise more than 1500 acres of
land that cannot be easily redeveloped. Development on closed landfills
poses some unique challenges such as land subsidence and landfill gas
production as waste decomposes. Developing solar energy projects using
these former landfills that would otherwise sit vacant can benefit the
community and enable the City to work toward expansion of its
sustainable energy portfolio.

The DOE and the EPA will provide technical assistance to the City to
determine how to best build solar systems on the old landfills and
obtain financing for future projects. No City monies will be spent on
the project. It is anticipated that the study will be a year long

Bruce Plenk, City of Tucson Solar Energy Coordinator, stated “We are
excited about this opportunity. This study will help our City prepare
for solar development on some wonderful solar sites. These large,
shade-free closed landfills are close to distribution lines and are a
great resource we would like to develop if technically feasible. This
study will help us zoom in on any additional preparation we need to do
to move ahead.”