Renewable energy projects such as solar often require development of farms, forest, or other greenfield properties that impact the natural landscape. Although these facilities supply much needed clean energy, they are often scrutinized by natural resource regulators and community members. Developing solar projects on landfills and brownfield sites can provide an alternative to greenfield sites and offers an excellent use of land that cannot typically be used for other types of development. These types of projects have the potential to be an asset to communities by providing an unrealized revenue stream for sites that are otherwise unused and costly to monitor and maintain.

Closed landfills can be good locations to site solar developments, as many are required to be maintained with vegetative cover with no large overgrowth (providing large, open, sunlit areas) and are typically located in the proximity of an appropriately sized electrical service. However, navigating the regulatory environment can seem cumbersome as more and more states adopt policies that promote solar development on older, closed landfills. This presentation will include a review of the regulatory requirements, design and constructability considerations, challenges, and lessons learned in developing new solar developments on closed landfills.

Why watch?

Participants will gain an understanding of the permitting and regulatory requirements and common challenges to overcome to successfully site, design, and construct solar arrays on closed landfills. The presentation will use case studies from previously completed development projects to share best practices for navigating the permitting and regulatory process required to complete these types of facilities.

What you’ll learn:

The presentation provides an overview of how to:

  • Identify the types of site civil permits and regulatory approvals required to greenlight a solar development on a closed landfill.
  • Detail the design requirements and engineering considerations necessary to ensure a stable and efficient solar array system constructed on a closed landfill.
  • Explain what elements of a closed landfill system must be preserved and protected when permitting, designing, and constructing solar arrays on landfills.
  • Explain the importance of construction quality assurance when building solar arrays on closed landfills.

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Written By

Jon Grace, PE

Senior Project Manager

At Sanborn Head, Jon provides geotechnical engineering, design, and permitting services for a variety of projects, including large multi-structure developments, land development projects, and other large earthwork projects.