City Chooses Missouri Firm to Place Solar Panels at Landfill

SunEdison and TerraForm Power’s Regulus solar facility in Kern County, California.

The city has selected a Missouri-based developer to construct a solar farm at the former Old Groveland Road landfill.

As first reported by WHAV last December, Orlando Pacheco, purchasing agent and energy manager, said the city received nine bids for the “solar redevelopment” project at the contaminated landfill. Sun Edison of Maryland Heights, Mo., was selected from among the proposals. Mayor James J. Fiorentini said Friday Pacheco and a committee recommended the 30-year-old company.

“I asked our energy manager to evaluate the bids as well as the Energy Advisory Task Force and they recommended we move forward with the favorable proposal. This deal could save the city over $7.5 million over the next 20 years,” Fiorentini said.

Sun Edison began as MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. In its 2013 annual report, Sun Edison said it relies on government subsidies to remain profitable.

“Our business is heavily dependent upon government subsidies, including U.S. federal incentive tax credits, state-sponsored energy credits and foreign feed-in tariffs. In certain jurisdictions, the sale of a solar energy system would not be profitable without these incentives. Our customers pay us only for the electricity output generated by the solar energy systems we install on their rooftops, or other property, thereby avoiding the significant capital outlays otherwise usually associated with power plant projects, including typical solar power plants. Once installed, our solar energy systems provide energy savings to customers and enable them to hedge a portion of their energy costs against volatile electricity prices by generating electricity during daylight hours when electricity prices are typically highest,” the company said.

The landfill project includes a power purchase agreement, requiring Haverhill City Council approval. Councilors will receive the proposal at its next meeting.