County Takes Step To Develop Solar Power At Landfills

By Staff Reports

(Victorvalley) – Landfills owned by the County of San Bernardino could soon double as solar power plants thanks to the Board of Supervisors’ approval today of an option to lease part of the Victorville Sanitary Landfill site for solar energy development.

“At my request, the County in December 2009 began seeking companies to develop renewable energy projects on county-owned landfill sites,” said First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt. “This program has several benefits. It provides another avenue for the state to meet its renewable energy goals; the county will see a steady revenue stream from leasing these otherwise unused areas, and developers of solar projects can avoid many of the problems often associated with finding suitable sites.”

Under the agreement approved today, Axio Power, Inc. has an option to develop 90 acres next to the Victorville Landfill as a photovoltaic solar field, which could produce up to 21 megawatts of electricity, enough to power approximately 15,000 homes during peak production.

In order to exercise the option, Axio must complete an environmental analysis of the project, obtain a power purchase agreement with a utility company, and negotiate lease terms with the county. If those requirements are completed, a long-term lease would be brought to the Board of Supervisors for approval. Axio is responsible for the development, design, financing, and construction of the solar project.

The county owns 33 landfills that are closed or inactive and six landfills that are active. The program has generated great interest among renewable energy developers and it is anticipated that several additional sites will be developed in the near future.

“Renewable energy is one of the emerging industries that will play a part in the economic future of the county and the High Desert in particular,” said Supervisor Mitzelfelt. “It is preferable to develop these projects on land that has already been disturbed. The landfill program helps advance this new industry, while also providing a benefit to local taxpayers in the form of additional revenue to maintain essential public services.”

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