Madison, N.Y., is the first city in the country to turn its municipal landfill into a solar power plant. The landfill got a new lease on life with the installation of a photovoltaic cover. Carlisle Energy Services announced the installation of the Spectro PowerCap Exposed Geomembrane Solar Cover system has been completed, and the system is expected to be fully operational within a month.

The eight-acre demonstration site features a three-ply membrane that serves as both the closure system for the decommissioned landfill and the platform for an integrated 40-kilowatt Uni-Solar thin-film photovoltaic array. The technology was developed as both a long-term and final landfill closure solution. The PV system is expected to offset nearly all of the power requirements of the Madison County ARC Recycling Facility on the site for 20 to 30 years.

image via Carlisle Energy Services

The demonstration project was funded by a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) in an effort to showcase the technology for other landfill owners in the state. “The photovoltaic landfill cover will play an integral role in Madison County’s growing renewable energy initiative, and we are proud to demonstrate the technical and commercial feasibility of Carlisle’s unique landfill closure system,” said James Zecca, Madison County Solid Waste Department director.

The site, now referred to as the Madison County Agriculture and Renewable Energy Park, will also host a 1-megawatt landfill gas system used to dry lumber on the site and heat the building. Other projects under consideration for the site include a windmill, hydroponic greenhouses, or possibly an additional solar array.

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