"Free Electricity for 25 Years"
CUMBERLAND — Officials are looking into installing a solar array on top of the town’s capped landfill, a project they say could allow Cumberland to generate cleaner energy from the sun while reducing its carbon footprint and shrinking expenses in the long run.
Town Manager Bill Shane has spent several months discussing proposals with Denny Gallaudet and Eric Fitz, members of the Cumberland Climate Action Team. Shane said the discussion began when the nearly complete expansion of the Central Fire Station, which has infrastructure that could support solar panels on the roof, led them to ask, “‘Could we do something bigger?'”
Cumberland officials were also inspired by South Portland, which installed a solar array on its capped landfill last year. Portland is among the other southern Maine communities planning to install solar panels atop old landfills, although the city ran into problems because of needed repairs to the landfill cap.
“It’s a very popular thing across the country, because landfill space is absolutely unusable,” Shane said, noting that Cumberland’s landfill is composed of about 4 acres of gently sloped land around which there are no trees. “It makes it great for solar capacity.”
Shane discussed the concept with ReVision Energy, which recently installed a 160-panel array at the Cumberland Animal Clinic on Greely Road, and they agreed a project would be feasible at the landfill.
The Town Council received data on the benefits, and Gallaudet and Fitz will make a formal presentation to the panel on Feb. 12.
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