September 18, 2023
Omaha Public Power District and Douglas County are working together on a project that could bring new life to an old landfill, possibly turning it into a power generating solar array.
The OPPD-Douglas County SOLUS (solar on landfills utility scale) initiative will look at how solar panels could potentially be incorporated at the former Douglas County State Street Landfill near 126th & State Streets. The landfill operated between 1973 and 1989, at which time it was capped to isolate waste.
"Closed landfills have limited future uses," said Kent Holm, director of Douglas County Environmental Services. "This project identifies a potential compatible use that will provide additional power to the community."
“The site has good sun exposure and is located near an existing OPPD substation, making it an ideal location for solar panels,” said OPPD President and CEO Javier Fernandez.
“We greatly value our partnership with Douglas County on this project. It is a great example of Nebraska ingenuity at work as we seek opportunities to add more renewable energy to our generation portfolio.”
The SOLUS feasibility study will begin in December and conclude in June 2024. The study will help determine the project timeline if it comes to fruition.
A $3.46 million grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) would help bridge the gap between the cost of a typical ground-mounted utility-scale solar project and landfill solar, which is more complicated to design and build.
"We are excited to see this project move forward," said Commissioner Mary Ann Borgeson, chairwoman of the Douglas County Board. "This project comes at a critical time to meet a greater demand for electricity due to a growing population and new industrial customers within the service district. It is a win-win for the County, OPPD, and ultimately our citizens."
It is not yet known how many megawatts of power such a facility may generate; however, the area under consideration encompasses 160-acres.
OPPD will share what it learns from the SOLUS project with other utilities that are interested in similar initiatives.