Waco looks for ways to convert trash sites to energy providers
Is it possible to build solar farms on three closed landfill sites? Waco intends to find out by conducting a feasibility study for the project.
Bids for the solar farm construction could open in mid-2024, with construction beginning when the 238-acre Waco Regional Landfill closes in 2025. City officials indicated they would like to partner with a private firm to develop solar energy at no cost to the city.
If the project is fully completed at the three sites, the solar farms are predicted to produce 50 MW of power, enough to supply 10,000 homes, or about 20% of Waco households.
The feasibility study will also consider two other closed landfill sites in South Waco: municipal solid waste (MWW) 1419 and MSW 1039. MSW 1039 is the future site of a transfer station for solid waste to be trucked to the new landfill near Axtell. Solar panels at site MSW 1039 could power the transfer station, according to city officials.
Waco has already implemented solar power at Fire Station No. 6, which produces 62 kilowatts to assist in powering the station.
Solar farms on top of landfills have become more popular, as the open spaces cannot be used for most other uses. The city of Houston invested $70 million in a 244-acre farm on top of a closed landfill that will produce 52 megawatts, enough power for up to 10,000 homes.
The initiative comes amid the rollout of the Inflation Reduction Act, which calls for $370 billion in aid to green infrastructure projects, including tax credits that can offset 30% of a renewable energy project’s cost.