Atlanta landfill turns to solar power

Thursday, April 12, 2012 @ 11:04 AM
posted by rene5432

Dealing with trash is never pleasant, but it can finally at least be productive. Scientific American reports that the Hickory Ridge landfill outside of Atlanta, Georgia, has highlighted the potential of these landfills with a massive new solar power installation.

Many landfills end up being capped, covered with a layer of compacted soil and grass, but this turns the land into essentially a money pit, since they produce no more revenue and cost money to keep mowed and otherwise maintained.

Hickory Ridge's owners decided against capping, instead choosing to cover the landfill with a so-called geomembrane, which is often used in the construction industry. The membrane was then covered with more than 7,000 thin-film solar panels, together producing around 1 megawatts of renewable electricity.

With $2 million out of the $5 million costs of the project being covered by grants from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, Hickory Ridge should eventually be able to cover the costs of its own cap and then begin making profits for the landfills owner.

Renewable electricity has played an increasing part in waste management in recent years, not only with the introduction of solar panels on landfills but the development of new solid waste power plants.

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