SWACO approves construction of solar farm at former landfill site

The project, which is tentatively set for completion in 2022, will generate 50 megawatts of power per year.

The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO), Grove City, Ohio, has approved a contract to lease the former 173-acre Franklin County landfill for use as a solar energy farm.

As reported by The Columbus Dispatch, Columbus Solar Park LLC—an affiliate of Wappingers Falls, New York-based BQ Energy Development LLC—will develop, build and operate a solar energy facility once the purchase agreements of the renewable energy are committed to underwrite the project.

The project, which is tentatively set for completion in 2022, will generate 50 megawatts of power per year. That’s enough to power about 5,000 households, said Paul Curran, managing director of BQ Energy.

“As we get close to the commercial operation, we would love to have a long-term supply contract and solar is uniquely positioned to do that because we don’t have a fuel cost. So we could sell power at a fixed price for 20 years to a potential buyer,” Curran told the Dispatch.

Over the course of the 25-year contract, SWACO anticipates the panels will generate $12 million.

According to This Week News, SWACO took over management of the former landfill and opened the Phoenix Golf Links course in 2000. Since the golf course closed five years ago, SWACO has wanted to build something on the site that benefits the community, offsets its nearly $400,000 annual maintenance costs and aligns with our sustainability goals.

“This is a great use of this property and before it was costing SWACO anywhere from $200,000 to $400,000 a year to maintain the property,” said Scott Perry, SWACO’s operations director. “This will make the property financially self-sustaining ... [and] will drive greater environmental effects here within our region by producing clean, renewable energy. So it’s a very exciting project.”

Under the agreement, Columbus Solar Park has up to three years to complete the facility’s design and construction, during which time SWACO will receive fixed annual rent payments.

When the solar farm is built, Columbus Solar Park will operate the facility and sell the electricity, which will be available to local entities to buy. SWACO will receive an escalating rental payment based on the megawatt capacity of the farm. The lease runs approximately 25 years, with a mutual option to extend.