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Local landfill is going solar

City of Rochester Solar Panels
Chris Caya
December 6, 2019

The site of an old landfill in Tonawanda will soon be generating solar electricity. As WBFO’s Chris Caya reports the project is not only good for the environment, it will also benefit taxpayers.

The Town of Tonawanda’s former landfill near I-290 and Military Road is on its way to becoming a “brightfield.”

“In the solar industry that’s what we coin landfills where we’re utilizing a landfill that has no real usable real estate. And with the type of solar project that we’re developing we’re not penetrating the cap, we’re not disrupting the landfill, but we’re able to provide some use to the barren land,” said Nathan Rizzo, vice president of Amherst-based Solar Liberty.

Rizzo says roughly 8,000 solar panels will be held in place with large concrete blocks. The system covers about ten acres and will produce about 2.6 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 450 homes. Every kilowatt generated will be sold to offset electricity costs for municipal facilities.

Rizzo says during the first year of operation the town should save about $80,000.

“That’s just savings. So it will generate more power. But the savings is the real benefit to the Town of Tonawanda. That is locked into place for a 25-year period. So the savings, more than likely, will grow, year after year.”

Rizzo says there was no up-front cost to the town. He says it’s Solar Liberty’s tenth brightfield across the state. Installation work should be complete around the end of December.