But the state is currently exploring ways to transform these unused landfills into solar PV farms, wind power stations, and methane gas generators.
It’s a novel approach. But erecting these renewable energy farms isn’t without its challenges.
For example, construction teams aren’t allowed to drill into some of these landfills. This makes it very difficult to install support beams to hold up thousands of solar panels or oversized wind turbines. The most popular workaround is to use large tubs of concrete into which piles are set.
But despite challenges like these, similar “landfill” projects continue cropping up all over California.
Let’s explore why.
Why Converting Landfills into Solar PV Farms Makes Sense
California is a large state. But much of this land is either designated for residential or commercial use – or it’s protected by environmental restrictions.
As a result, most large-scale solar PV farms are installed in the desert. Although this approach may “appear” to be more environmentally friendly, there are constant reports of devastated wildlife, species going extinct, and birds killed en masse.
Building in the desert produces a lot of clean energy. But it’s not an environmentally responsible approach to powering local communities.
However, California also has a lot of unusable land – tracts that have become toxic, contaminated, or filled with garbage.
These areas are no longer suitable for growing crops. In fact, developers aren’t even allowed to build homes or businesses near such landfills.
But by covering them with wind turbines or solar PV panels, it’s possible to extract tremendous value from these “toxic lands” without disrupting local wildlife.
According to UC Davis bioscience professor, Rebecca Hernandez,
“You’re using degraded land, you’re producing renewable energy, and you’re bringing back some functioning to that parcel of land too… It’s like a win-win-win scenario.”
And she’s right.
Moreover, these green power projects help to create savings for area residents, new jobs for engineers and contractors, and additional revenue for municipal governments.
As an added benefit, both the air and water become cleaner as a result of these sustainability improvements.
Projects like this have so much potential – especially in a region like California.
If you combined landfill solar PV farms with rooftop solar panels, we could cover our state’s electricity needs 5 times over. And that’s without using any wind power or methane – just clean and free sunshine.
To learn more about installing solar panels on your home, business, or unused parcels of land, contact us today or a free consultation.