A neighborhood that once housed a mill and a landfill that contributed to one of the largest superfund sites in the region will soon become the home to a 3.5-megawatt solar farm.
According to groSolar, a solar and engineering construction firm with headquarters in Maryland and Vermont, said the project will be located on a 35-acre tract that was once the home of a county and hospital dump site that was closed and capped as part of a community project in the Arkwright community In Spartanburg.
The project was recently part of the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting held last week in Atlanta. There, groSolar, along with partners Duke Energy and ReGenesis, networked with other communities and entities that have done similar projects.
“We were able to connect with people who are making a big difference in their community like what (State Rep. Harold) Mitchell has done with ReGenesis,” said Maribeth Sawchuk, director of marketing and communications for groSolar. “It was very helpful to talk with people who have organized their communities.”
Now, the city of Spartanburg will work with ReGenesis, Duke Energy and groSolar to place the solar power facility on 35 acres of capped landfill space. According to groSolar, once finished, the new Arkwright Landfill Solar Project will generate enough electricity to power 500 homes in Spartanburg.
Sawchuk said there has already been $4.5 million in private money raised for the project with an additional $2.5 million outstanding to complete it.
“Any solar projects built on capped landfills require very specific engineering and construction so these can be a little more expensive than typical solar projects,” Sawchuk said.
According to the Clinton Global Initiative, the new project will offset emissions “equivalent to removing 800 cars from the road and 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the environment.” An estimated 50 jobs will be added from the project that will install nearly 12,000 solar panels on the former dump site.
Sawchuk said groSolar intends to use the Arkwright Landfill Solar Project as a model for other superfund and capped landfill reuse projects across the country.
“We have a really unique set of engineering experience to do things like this, and there are special techniques that have to be used so as not to disturb things under the cap,” Sawchuk said.
The next step in the project is to work with Duke Energy on an interconnect agreement and to obtain the remaining $2.5 million in funding with other parties.