Landfill Solar Development Handbook

2550 Greenwood Avenue, Monterey Park, California

1. Project overview

The goal of the project was to create a development handbook to assist developers with the challenges they would face when developing a solar project on a closed landfill site. This study determined whether placement of a self ballasting photovoltaic solar racking system affected a closed landfill's engineered cap. The effects on landfill settlement and power generation performance were measured with a closely monitored pilot experiment wherein single racks with photovoltaic modules were placed on a landfill cap. This innovative approach could assist the development to produce power on previously disturbed landfill sites, instead of using large areas of remote and environmentally sensitive desert lands, as is the case for some large scale solar developments. There are an estimated 400,000 acres of suitable, closed landfill sites throughout the United States, with the potential to generate up to 100,000+ megawatts of solar energy while avoiding sensitive biological resources. The data and resulting guidance manual will aid the development of more landfill located photovoltaic solar projects and has been made publicly available and has since been downloaded over 10,000 times.

The goals of this project were to:
  • Place the racking systems on top of a closed, capped landfill.
  • Monitor the effects on the cap using a highly instrumented system.
  • Develop a plan detailing the sampling activities, the sampling frequency, and the data to be recorded.
  • Collect data including wind speed, temperature, dust, rain, landfill settlement, solar intensity, electrical generation, vegetative growth, seismic activity, and landfill cap cracking or erosion.
Site Description
The 190-acre Operating Industries, Inc. (OII) landfill site lies just 10 miles east of Los Angeles, California in Monterey Park. For years, the landfill was a source of displeasing odors and of visual pollution to those living nearby. Today, after a series of assessments and cleanups, the landfill is now aesthetically pleasing and producing enough clean energy to power about 80% of the site operations.

PVNavigator, LLC,
1 Pointe Drive, Suite 320, Brea, California

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Please note. The site is available to members of the Association for Redevelopment Initiatives. If you are not a member of the Association, . If you need assistance, please contact us at: [email protected].