Madison County has recently become the first in the nation to deploy a flexible membrane photovoltaic system for the recovery of solar energy at a municipally owned solid waste management facility. The facility is the West Side Landfill, located at the Madison County solid waste management complex in the Town of Lincoln. This cutting edge technology allows for the collection of solar energy from a closed portion of the landfill, which is then converted to usable electricity. The solar electricity recovered is being used to reduce the grid based electrical energy demands of the material recycling facility (MRF) operating on-site. These electrical usage reductions improve the overall economics of local recycling efforts, in addition to recovering renewable green power.
Closed landfills are typically limited in their end-of-life use due to post-closure monitoring requirements, maintenance costs, and local land use restrictions. However, in a push for a sustainable landfill closure, Madison County pursued an alternative that would maintain landfill closure integrity, produce renewable energy, and potentially decrease post-closure maintenance costs. The Madison County Landfill Solar Cap project has truly embraced the concept of closed landfills as energy fields with the addition of a photovoltaic landfill cap.