Methuen began exploring the idea of a solar farm in late 2009. The city later applied for and received a $35,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources to hire a consultant to help the city develop a request for proposals. As the chosen consultant, Borrego Solar worked with Methuen to turn a capped landfill into a clean, energy-producing asset that would generate savings for the city. The Methuen Landfill PV project was one of the first successfully completed landfill installations in New England.
The 1.3-megawatt Methuen solar power system was installed atop three acres of the city’s municipal landfill. Previously thought of as unusable land, the capped landfill now hosts 2,478 LG Electronics 260 watt panels and 2,678 Yingli 240 watt panels. All solar modules were mounted to a ballasted Solar Flex Rack ground-mount solution that sits on the topsoil of the landfill, maintaining the integrity of the protective membrane. The arrays are designed with spaces between the rows to account for any potential ground settling that may occur over the 20–30 year lifespan of the installation.
The Methuen landfill solar power installation was financed through an integrated power purchase agreement (PPA) from Borrego Solar. Under the terms of the PPA, Borrego Solar secured financing for the design, construction, and ongoing maintenance of the solar project, and will sell the power in the form of energy credits through National Grid Utility, produced by the project at $0.085 per kilowatt-hour, roughly $0.06 lower than the current rate. With zero upfront investment, Methuen will see nearly $100,000 in energy savings per year.