A Houston Landfill Is the New Site for a Solar Farm
February 11, 2022
Houston started its journey toward a greener, more equitable future through solar energy in 2017.
That year, Houston officials joined 13 other cities in the C40 Reinventing Cities Competition to turn disused land into sources of carbon-free power. Partnered with private firm Wolfe Energy, officials found hope in an unlikely place: an abandoned 240-acre dump in southern Houston’s Sunnyside neighborhood.
Wolfe Energy created Sunnyside Energy, LLC to handle the project after deciding on the landfill as the home of a new solar farm. The city of Houston leased the Sunnyside landfill to the company for $1 per year, meaning that while the city retains ownership of the land, Sunnyside Energy owns the project itself.
They plan to outfit the land with enough panels to power 10,000 homes through solar energy.
There will be two solar energy projects operating at the former landfill, although the final plans appear as one large project. One portion creates power for local residents while the other sells energy to large consumers such as schools, hospitals, and businesses.
With solar in Houston growing, Sunnyside Energy hopes to also provide the community with more green space and education. Current plans include walking and biking paths and solar energy education centers.
How It’s Going
This solar energy project requires large-scale study and approval from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, a nonprofit organization made up of energy consumers and businesses. In turn, the land will become suitable for the project since the landfill has been in disrepair for so long. Currently, Sunnyside Energy’s team is securing permits and customers to begin construction.
The planning process has spanned a long timeline, but Sunnyside Energy hopes to begin construction in 2022 and have the facility running by the end of the year.
To do this, the company requires 200 to 300 residential subscribers and three to five nonprofit partners. Subscribers must pay a $100 subscription fee for future upkeep and maintenance, though Sunnyside Energy estimates customers will recoup costs in the first 13 to 15 years. Subscribers will also be eligible for a 22% federal investment tax credit.
[Related: Going Solar Collectively: Guide to Community Solar Projects]
How This Solar Energy Project Promises Hope
Currently, more than a third of Sunnyside’s residents live below the poverty line. The Sunnyside solar energy project promises 10% of the jobs it creates to locals in addition to ongoing training. Not only will residents reduce their carbon footprints, but they’ll also receive jobs and education that open them up to a new world of career opportunities.
In 2018 alone, 11 million Americans worked in solar energy. That’s 700,000 more solar energy jobs than in 2017. The Sunnyside Energy project puts Houstonians at the forefront of this growing industry, giving them the means and opportunities they need to succeed.
[Related: How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Houston?]
Learn More About The Solar Energy Revolution
You can become a part of the growing solar revolution even if you’re outside of Sunnyside Energy’s solar farm service area. You can also read the article about The Sunnyside Energy project that Sunnyside Energy Community Solar launch of a city-wide solar cooperative back in April of 2021.
Whether you need a home solar energy system or commercial solar power, consult Freedom Solar Power to learn about your options and the benefits of solar energy.
Call +1 (800) 504-2337 or complete our inquiry form to request or quote or further information. One of our solar specialists will be in touch and get you on your way to using renewable energy!
Featured image via Unsplash