CRRA to Transform Hartford Landfill
from Eyesore to Clean-Energy Source
Final Phase of Cap to Include Solar Cells
HARTFORD, Conn. – For most of its 73-year history the Hartford landfill was called an eyesore. Soon it will be in the vanguard of Connecticut’s energy future.
The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority has awarded an $11.6 million contract for the final phase of capping the 96-acre landfill. This final section – about 35 acres – will have photovoltaic panels mounted on top of a special artificial turf. The project is expected to generate about one megawatt of electricity, or enough to power about 1,000 homes at peak efficiency. Solar generation is impacted by weather and the sun's position in the sky.
The Hartford landfill will be the first in the state – and one of only a handful in the country – to generate solar power. (A table of such landfills is below.)
“When we began working with the City of Hartford on the future of the landfill, we wanted to find innovative ways to use the land,” said Thomas D. Kirk, CRRA president. “Solar energy was an idea we all agreed on right away.”
E. T. & L. Corporation of Stow, Mass., will install the cap and solar generators under the contract, which was approved May 30 by the CRRA Board of Directors. CRRA expects the solar cells to be on-line by Oct. 1 and to complete the closure project in 2014.
The City opened the Hartford landfill in 1940. In 1982, CRRA leased the landfill from the City and deposited trash there until it opened its Hartford trash-to-energy plant in 1988. Between 1988 and Dec. 31, 2008, CRRA delivered ash from the plant and waste that the plant could not process.
CRRA began closing and capping the landfill in 2007, shortly after the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection issued a permit to begin that work and more than a year before the landfill accepted its final truckload of waste. In 2011, CRRA applied for, and DEEP approved, a permit modification to allow the installation of solar collectors.
In 2012, the project was selected to receive zero-emission renewable energy credits, or ZRECs, which will be sold to Connecticut Light & Power. The ZRECs add 11 cents per kilowatt-hour to the price of electricity generated by the solar collectors. The cost of the project will be covered by a CRRA reserve dedicated to the cost of closing and capping the landfill.
|This illustration shows the environmental protection systems in place or under construction at the Hartford landfill. On six acres of the landfill, CRRA will build solar cells to generate electricity. Click the image for a 300-dpi .jpg version of the illustration.
When the closure project is completed the entire 96 acres will be encapsulated
in a synthetic geomembrane.
The six-acre solar field will sit atop a layer of sand and a layer of
able synthetic grass designed for covering landfills, while the remainder will be covered with soil and appropriate vegetation.
The cap will leave intact the landfill’s environmental-protection systems, including its gas-collection system that virtually eliminates odors while using the methane created by decomposing waste to generate about 1.3 megawatts of power.
The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority is a quasi-public agency whose mission is to work for – and in – the best interests of the municipalities of the state of Connecticut. CRRA’s board of directors and management team develop and implement environmentally sound solutions and best practices for solid waste disposal and recycling management on behalf of municipalities. CRRA serves 75 Connecticut cities and towns. CRRA also runs award-winning sustainability education programs through the CRRA Trash Museum in Hartford. For more information about CRRA and its activities, visit http://www.crra.org. Computer users can also discuss CRRA on its blog, http://crra-blog.blogspot.com, and follow CRRA on Twitter @CRRA.
Here is a list of landfills on which solar-generating cells have been built. Click here for a larger image of the table.