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Solar & Alternative Energy

The Solar Landfill Project

Phovoltaic laminates are being used on capped landfills, rooftops, and other otherwise unusable spaces to create solar power.
27 May 2009, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3200905.0004

In San Antonio, Texas, hot sun combined with otherwise unusable space create the perfect conditions for renewable energy production.

In March 2009, Republic Services waste management put into service 1000 photovoltaic laminates strips on top of 5.6 acres of their capped landfills, producing 130 kilowatts.

The $1.3 million project was a major collaboration between Republic Services, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, local energy company CPS Energy, and photovoltaic laminate manufacturer United Solar. The flexible photovoltaic laminates are attached to a geomembrane to contain retired landfills and turn the otherwise unusable land into an energy resource.

This test project is literally on top of another source of energy - methane gas produced by the decaying landfill that is pumped into turbines to create energy.

Typically these photovoltaic laminates (PVL) are used on rooftops, according to manufacturer United Solar. The laminates are flexible and lightweight and encapsulated in UV stabilized polymers partially constructed of durable ETFE, a high-light-transmissive polymer.

United Solar vice president sales Corby Whitaker spoke with SPIE about the project.

San Antonio city officials attend the dedication of the solar landfill.

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