Unprecedented landfill solar project completed in Maryland

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If humanity is truly good at anything, it is innovation and excess. The only thing that rivals humanity’s ability to create and improve upon is our ability to discard and waste. However, in rare instances, the two cross over to create something uniquely human: a beneficial solution to a situation we created ourselves.

Such is the case in Annapolis, Maryland, where developer Building Energy turned an otherwise unusable 80-acre landfill into a 18 MW solar power project, capable of supplying the city with up to 12% of its power needs.

The project was completed in just under a year, led by EDF Renewables Distributed Solutions (EDF), which oversaw engineering, construction and procurement. Development of this project came with its own unique set of challenges, including the inability to drill through the protective membrane cap of the landfill to provide a foundation for the racking system. Instead, EDF and BQ Energy turned to Solar FlexRack’s ballasted solar racking solution, mounting the site’s 54,000 panels on Solar FlexRack’s B3P-X pre-cast fixed tilt racking foundations.

While not yet live, the project is expected to generate the City of Annapolis $250,000 annually. As the project is built on city-owned lands, the Annapolis will get revenue comes from the 20-year lease signed by Building Energy. Additionally, local press has reported that not all of the electricity generated will go to Annapolis. There is a power purchase agreement in place for Anne Arundel county to purchase 50% of the electricity and the City of Annapolis to purchase 33%, with the remaining 17% going to the Anne Arundel County Board of Education.

“Annapolis Solar Park will help serve the city’s energy needs with a major source of clean, renewable solar power, generated on a site that may otherwise remain unused, decreasing the city’s operating costs while meeting carbon reduction goals,” said Andrea Braccialarghe, Building Energy managing director in a City of Annapolis Facebook post from the project’s initial announcement.

 

Correction: This article was corrected at 10:50 AM on October 1. The previous version identified BQ Energy as the developer in the lede, and the article has been changed to clarify that Building Energy developed this project (BQ Energy was a construction contractor). We regret the error.