Brownfield sites are abandoned or underused industrial and commercial facilities available for re-use. Often, redeveloping such sites is hampered by real or perceived environmental contamination.
But a new partnership may change that. OPEL Solar, a supplier of high concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) solar panels and advanced solar trackers and TRUENORTH Solar & Environmental, a designer and installer of high quality solar industry products, have teamed up to install utility-scale solar fields on brownfield sites across North America that have been deemed otherwise unusable.

One of the attractions of doing that is that blighted areas of land can be turned into renewable energy fields to meet growing demand, besides helping utilities to meet their clean energy mandates.

“It’s a way for both companies to give back to these communities, generate badly needed municipal revenues by generating green energy and help revitalize blighted and unusable urban land”, says OPEL Solar’s CEO, Leon M. Pierhal. OPEL will be providing its patented HCPV solar panels and industry-leading advanced tracker systems to the projects, besides a service package that includes land assessment, engineering, EPA assistance, remediation or mitigation of the land, installation, utility company cutover and funding or PPA (power purchase agreement) assistance.

TRUENORTH Solar will handle the land remediation and installation. “TRUENORTH principals see great potential for solar energy and its ability to bring renewable energy to communities throughout North America at a reasonable cost. At the same time we also see the untapped potential for using brownfields as a business development asset for creating clean energy sites,” says Roland J. Harris, a TRUENORTH principal.

The financial prospects in cleaning up brownfields are good. According to an estimate by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), companies doing the clean-up can earn about $$6-8 billion annually as experts forecast that there may be as many as 4,000 brownfields in the United States, or roughly 30,000 football fields. Besides, Superfund sites and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act sites push the total to more than 14 million acres that could be redeveloped as renewable energy sites.

Besides, the companies believe that the interest in dead land rejuvenation grows, a broad spectrum of federal and state government grants, financing and investment incentives are available for redevelopment and remediation of these sites. Amongst official sources of funding are EPA, DOE, Department of Defense, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forestry Services, Bureau of Mines and the Bureau of Reclamation.

Source: Solar Feeds.