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Cuyahoga’s solar farm nearly complete, first landfill-based array in Ohio

July 13, 2018 GMT

Cuyahoga’s solar farm nearly complete, first landfill-based array in Ohio

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The first solar array in Ohio built on a landfill is nearly complete and should begin generating power in test mode by the end of the month before going on-line in August.

Columbus-based IGS Solar developed the 4 megawatt (4 million watts) array on 17 acres it leased from the City of Brooklyn’s former 75-acre landfill.

Cleveland Public Power is buying all of output of the IGS array on behalf of Cuyahoga County. CPP will sell the renewable power to the county  -- blended  with conventionally generated power -- and deliver it to 16 county buildings.

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IGS calculates that the clean power will meet  about 5 percent of the county’s power demand.

The county expects the solar farm to shave about $3 million from is power bills over the next 25 years, said Mike Foley, the county’s sustainability director, because its price will not change.

Foley said the solar array is one step  toward controlling the county’s future energy costs while at the same time supporting renewable energy.

“It’s part of a larger sustainability goal.  We have done a greenhouse gas analysis for the county.  Since 2010, there has been a 10 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions here, most of it because of energy efficiency.

The county is also planning to purchase a portion of the output of the 21-megawatt wind farm being developed by the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. or LEEDCo.

Foley said the wind power will be more expensive, but the county sees it as an economic development project that could lead to much larger wind farms in the lake.

There are over 70 old landfills in the county, and Foley said the county is interested in evaluating some of them as sites for future solar arrays.

The total cost of the Brooklyn landfill solar project is roughly $10 million, of which the county’s cost is $7.8 million. 

The county has the option to purchase the array from IGS after six years. 

Conti Solar, al New Jersey-based national solar engineering, procurement and construction and energy storage development company, is building the array. The company has built 133 megawatts of landfill-based solar projects.

The 35,520 solar panels Conti Solar is installing on the landfill were manufactured by First Solar Inc. in Perrysburg, Ohio. 

Because the landfill surface cannot, by state regulation, be penetrated, Conti Solar is using a ballast racking system developed and built by RBI Solar of Cincinnati. The heavy pre-cast concrete ballasts sit on surface of the landfill, and the racking hardware is bolted to them.

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