C2 Energy Capital recently announced the completion of the largest Tennessee solar power landfill project. The 2.7 megawatt solar power plant is located near Somerville, Tennessee. Financing and support services for the power plant, which was installed on a capped landfill, were provided by C2 Energy Capital. Candice Michalowicz, a co-founder of C2 Energy Capital, answered some questions for CleanTechnica.
1.) How did this project come on your radar and what about it appealed to you?
The developer reached out to us. C2 Energy Capital prioritizes developers’ requests and is known for our responsive team. We can, at times, take on projects others may not be able to, thanks to our company structure. We reviewed the project and saw an opportunity to support a positive outcome for all sides – the community, the utility, and the development team.
2.) What challenges were there with this project and how did you resolve them?
C2 Energy Capital’s strength is our years of development experience with a broad range of solar projects and our ability to move quickly and step in to help a developer with their solar project. The initial development site was time constrained to meet contractual completion. C2 Energy Capital was able to quickly assess the challenges and provide the funding needed to complete the construction. We also provided support services to augment the developer’s team and optimize their construction schedule.
3.) You were involved in financing and providing support services, so what were the financial arrangements and what support did you provide?
C2 Energy Capital owns and operates the project. (See #2 answer.)
4.) What makes landfill solar power projects more difficult?
Typically landfill solar projects are sited on contaminated lands that cannot be used for other building purposes. The design and construction of the solar power generation plants are highly regulated by government on the county, state, and federal level – and for good reason. The sites need to be designed to accommodate the condition of the site and for the long-term safety of the nearby communities and environment.
These sites also require in-depth, regular reporting to ensure all requirements are met. This check and balance system is more time and paperwork intensive, but worth it. When handled right, landfill solar projects are win-win propositions for the communities.
5.) How long did this project take to complete?
The construction took four months.
6.) Does constructing solar power arrays on landfill sites make sense economically because the space is already available and no land has to be found and prepared for solar installation?
Absolutely. Also landfills are well-suited for solar development because they are generally located near electric transmission lines and roads, and thus can accommodate utility-scale projects. Typically they are flat sites and require minimal grading, if any. They’re near areas with high energy demands (towns and cities) and the land has become an unproductive site. Installing a solar installation transitions the property to a clean power generation plant that is delivering lower cost electricity and driving revenues to the community through lease and tax revenues. There are landfill solar projects in 40 states across the US and they represent approximately 1.5 GW of clean energy generation.*
7.) How many solar power landfill projects have you been involved with so far?
This is C2 Energy Capital’s first operational landfill solar project.