Last week DuPont announced the completion of a new, 548 kilowatt solar array, which on its own, wouldn’t be too amazing. But the chemical company completed the array using its own modules on its own Superfund site in Newark, Del. And doing anything with a Superfund site means unique challenges.
The installation is at a former landfill site owned by DuPont, which was capped in 2001 as part of a Superfund clean up effort. Since it was a Superfund site DuPont had to seek approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Delaware Division of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC) to develop the project.
DuPont partnered with Tangent Energy Solutions to develop the project, which because of the cap, required a means of securing the array without penetrating the ground. As such Tangent secured the arrays with heavy concrete blocks. The project also uses thin-film silicon solar panels made by DuPont subsidiary DuPont Apollo.
“We’re very excited about this project because it is the first time we’ve utilized solar on a former landfill. The project will reduce DuPont’s greenhouse gas emissions by 350 tons a year and reuse a portion of a federal Superfund site that had been considered to be unusable land,” said Linda Fisher, vice president and chief sustainability office of DuPont Safety, Health & Environment. “This is a great example of what we’re trying to do at DuPont around the world: working collaboratively to help meet the growing demand for energy with renewable fuels.”
The project was hailed by the EPA. “Under the RE-Powering America Initiative, EPA encourages renewable energy development on current and formerly contaminated land when it is aligned with the community’s vision for the site,” said Shawn Garvin, regional administrator – EPA Mid-Atlantic Region 3. “When we work together to turn an environmental problem into an opportunity, we create the best of what is possible – here solar energy will serve the families of Newport and inspire others to re-power America with alternative energy solutions.”
Garvin as well as Fisher Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, and others attended the commission of the power plant, which was held at the DuPont Photovoltaics Applications Lab in Wilmington, Del. because of inclement weather.
The array is owned by Greenwood Energy, a subsidiary of Libra Group, which sells the power generated —as well as the renewable energy credits it generates to Delmarva Power.
DuPont now has solar installations at 11 facilities, four of them in Delaware the company said. The company also expected to complete two new solar projects by the end of the year. And while DuPont used its own modules for the array, it could have chosen many other modules and still supported itself. After all, the company’s products like metallization pastes are used in more than half of the modules in the world.Tweet