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RE-Powering: In Your Community

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Projects Across the Country

Using publically available information, RE-Powering maintains a list of completed renewable energy installations on contaminated sites and landfills. The locations of these installations reflect evolving market trends generally linked to available renewable energy resource, Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), net-metering laws, and other incentives. The RE-Powering Tracking Matrix provides summary statistics of known installations and discusses emerging trends. 

Explore the map below to learn more about successfully completed projects.

Fact Sheets and Success Stories

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Solar on Landfills

Reusing former landfills as large solar projects is a clear, growing trend. In 1988, there were nearly 8,000 landfills in the United States. In 2009, that number had dropped to below 2,000. The landfills that closed over the intervening years—plus portions of active landfills with closed cells—represent thousands of acres that may be suitable for siting solar projects.

Many landfills are particularly well-suited for solar development because they are often:

  • Located near critical infrastructure including electric transmission lines and roads;
  • Located near areas with high energy demand (e.g., large population bases);
  • Constructed with large areas of minimal grade (0-2 percent) needed for optimal siting of solar photovoltaic (PV) structures;
  • Offered at lower land costs when compared to open space; and
  • Able to accommodate net metered or utility scale projects.

EPA and the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) jointly developed the Best Practices for Siting Solar Photovoltaics on Municipal Solid Waste Landfills. EPA and NREL created this document to provide assistance in addressing common technical challenges for siting solar photovoltaic (PV) on municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills.

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Community Solar

Community solar programs offer the economic and environmental benefits of solar to the 49% of Americans without traditional solar access, either because of physical, ownership or financial limitations.

RE-Powering sites represent a large and varied collection of sites that do not generally have on-site electricity load to serve following cleanup.

The discussion paper below links the need for solar access and the mechanism of community solar to the opportunity of using formerly contaminated lands, landfills and mine sites for renewable energy:

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RE-Powering Critical Infrastructure

Extreme weather events and natural hazards that can cause long-term power outages for critical infrastructure also create vulnerabilities for renewable energy installations. Location and building standards and best practices should be applied to protect renewable energy installations. Renewable energy in combination with a decentralized electricity grid can make communities more resilient.

To demonstrate how RE-Powering projects could be a part of a community’s energy resiliency portfolio, RE-Powering developed a methodology that can be used to evaluate the potential for RE-Powering sites to support critical infrastructure assets, including in emergency situations, and to identify specific EPA-screened sites with the best potential for supporting wastewater treatment infrastructure.

The study evaluated over 80,000 RE-Powering sites and nearly 17,000 wastewater infrastructure units. This methodology can be applied at national or local scales to other infrastructure (e.g., hospitals, schools, emergency centers, cell towers, fire stations, natural gas distribution centers, and others) if needs information can be calculated.

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