Sponsored Content: Solar FlexRack - Annapolis, The Largest Landfill Solar Park in North America

Annapolis Solar Park, the largest solar power generation plant on a closed landfill in North America, is owned and operated by Building Energy, a global independent power producer. Through close partnership among BQ Energy (the developer), Building Energy (project owner), EDF Renewables (EPC firm), the City of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Anne Arundel County Public Schools, the utility (BGE Energy), and other Maryland stakeholders; the project team was able to navigate the design, technical, and financial challenges to convert a closed landfill into an 18.1 MW operating solar energy system.

This achievement is particularly significant because landfill solar projects are far more difficult to develop and construct than other types of solar projects. Construction was heavily regulated by various state, county and city agencies to ensure the long-term safety of the community and their environment. At 80 acres, the sheer size of the solar project would present complexities. For example, the design utilized over 5,700 pre-cast concrete foundation ballasts to avoid penetration of the environmental landfill cap. The site required sophisticated logistics management to coordinate and regulate more than 800 truckloads of equipment for weight, size, and traffic flow.

The 7 pre-fabricated inverter stations and other aspects of the work were architected to meet the project's governance requirements and other environmental concerns for the landfill cap system. The project plan provided design and construction of new access driveways to meet regulatory controls on traffic loads. The design also provided access points and construction for ten methane vents on the landfill which are maintained by the City of Annapolis through the operating phase of the solar energy facility. Additional operations & maintenance are being provided by EDF Renewables.

Solar FlexRack's Series B (ballasted) Pre-Cast solar mounting technology was selected for its unique design that is ideal for sites with these type of site restrictions. The ballasted pre-cast racking is designed with a front-rear post mounting technology that effectively transfers loads into the concrete block and allows for reductions in ballast thickness. That translates to lighter ballasts and greater array profile flexibility for significant cost reductions. Series B Pre-Cast solar mounting foundations have less components, making them faster and easier to install. With a long track record of success, Solar FlexRack's ballasted design is a very well-suited solution for landfill projects.

The racking and over 52,000 solar modules were not the only equipment required to meet weight and quality requirements. The 40-ton inverter stations were shipped on skids from Ohio and rigged with large cranes that required specially-designed gravel pads. Their transportation onsite was carefully designed and monitored . In the end, all these efforts converted a formerly unusable property the size of 70 football fields into a powerhouse supplier of clean energy.

This 100% privately-funded, solar plant cost the city taxpayers nothing. In fact, with the 20-year lease held by Building Energy, this solar plant will save Anne Arundel County taxpayers $1.7 million and deliver over $4 million in lease revenue for the City of Annapolis. The solar plant is expected to generate approximately 24,000,000 kilowatt hours of clean electricity each year, enough to power 12.5% of Annapolis households' electricity and the equivalent of removing more than 15,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the environment. Finally, the Annapolis Solar Park created more than 100 construction jobs during the 8-month construction period for various Maryland-based companies. See the Annapolis Solar Project video at solarflexrack.com/videos/.

Article Discussion

Related Articles