TURNING LANDFILL INTO GREEN ENERGY
Ground-mount solar panels on a former landfill
7.5 MW system that’s part of a national 70MW project
All power generated is sold to the grid
What do you do with a landfill site when comes to the end of its useful life? Cover it in solar panels and use it to generate clean energy. Landfill sites are great for solar installs – they’re brownfield land, they’re often unshaded and they often have a substantial grid connection, which makes it much cheaper to connect and export power
This is what waste management firm Veolia is doing with three of its decommissioned landfills, and we fitted 7.5MW at its Ling Hall site in Warwickshire as part of the company’s national 70MW project.
Installing ground-mouted solar panels on top of an old landfill site presents us with a set of new challenges. The landfill is covered with an impermeable membrane to stop gas and water escaping from the buried waste. If we’d used conventional fixings to anchor the panels to the ground we would have pierced the membrane, so we had to find an alternative means of securing them.
The impermeable nature of the membrane also means that water doesn’t drain through it, so we had to deal with deep standing water which makes working difficult. And the network of pipes and cables that run under the ground, used to manage the site, add another layer of complexity.
We found solutions to all of these challenges and the site went live in May 2021. All of the power generated is exported to the National Grid and, as Veolia chose to buy the system outright, it takes all the income.