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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Waste to Energy - A Solar Perspective

Republic Services stepped to the plate with one of the first landfill covers capturing the power from the Sun.  The Hickory Ridge Landfill near Atlanta is home to a 45-acre flexible solar cover that produces enough energy to power over 200 homes.  With 7,000 solar panels on the 10 acre project, the landfill cap is the world's largest solar energy landfill cover.  

With a 30 year return built into the project, Republic Services invested $5 million, including $2 million in federal stimulus funds awarded through the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority.

"This is a technologically advanced solution that is actually very simple at its core," said Bob Boucher, senior vice president of operations for Republic Services, in a statement. "Given the choice of covering the site with clay and soil, or flexible solar panels, we made the choice that not only caps the landfill with an environmentally safe technology but also produces enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of 224 homes."

The Georgia Solar Energy Association offers a virtual tour of the project and the following copy:

Hickory Ridge Landfill Solar Energy Cover | Virtual Tour 2010The solar energy cover being installed at the Republic Services (BFI) Hickory Ridge Landfill is an innovative and technologically advanced method of final landfill closure and renewable energy production. It is only the second such application in the country (the first being at Tessman Road Landfill in San Antonio). An exposed synthetic cover has been approved as the final closure mechanism for the landfill.
Flexible solar panels will be adhered to the cover to generate electricity. This solution enables landfills to produce clean, sustainable energy and offers a cost-effective, environmentally sound system for managing landfill closure.

Republic's visionary investment brings an entirely new perception to the concept of Waste to Energy - Kudos to Republic for investing outside of the box, or shall we say the "hole"!

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