Dunbarton Road Landfill Solar Array
The Manchester Landfill located at 500 Dunbarton Road had been capped in 1999 and lay dormant for major development for more than 20 years. While the solid waste drop-off facility has continued to operate as normal, the capped landfill, across I-93 from Manchester Community College, was a resource that had been evaluated for years without ever being fully utilized for further development. Recently, the City of Manchester, led by the Department of Public Works, was able to construct a 3.3-megawatt (MW) solar array on top of the landfill to generate significant economic and environmental benefits for the City. The solar array, which is roughly 8,000 panels, realizes direct southern sunlight exposure and produces enough energy to power approximately 350 average homes annually. This development, which is the largest net metered solar array in New Hampshire, is another step in Manchester’s quest to utilize sustainable, renewable energy sources for the City and create lasting positive financial impacts.
The project, which got off the ground in 2018, took an exceptional amount of patience and coordination from all of those involved. The Department of Public Works in Manchester had sent out first a Request for Qualifications and later a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP), culminating in the selection of Kearsarge Energy to develop, construct, own and operate the project. Working together with the City and the City’s consultant, Competitive Energy Services, Kearsarge and the project team moved ahead with a maximized design of 3.3 MW, even as the net metering program did not yet allow for projects over 1 MW early in the project’s development. Fuss & O’Neill provided site and civil design, as well as survey and permitting. The permitting through New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) involved multiple bureaus and permits; the Bureau of Land Resources Management for an Alteration of Terrain Permit and the Waste Management Bureau for a Type 1B Post Closure Use Permit Modification. The Public Private Partnership (P3) between the City and Kearsarge Energy will allow both entities to be successful in achieving their goals; Manchester will move closer to satisfying its sustainable energy goals while earning over $500,000 in energy cost savings and tax revenue over 20 years and Kearsarge Energy will continue to build its portfolio of successful projects across the northeast with its first major project in New Hampshire. Kearsarge focuses on partnering with public and private entities and is rapidly growing its pipeline in New Hampshire.