- Associated Press - Friday, March 16, 2018

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A plan to create a solar panel field on an EPA Superfund site that was contaminated by aluminum production waste has run into financing difficulty.

The Environmental Protection Agency says the 400-acre (162-hectare) site was used by Alcoa until the late 1950s as a place to dispose of waste from its aluminum production plant.

Efforts to clean the EPA Superfund site ramped up in 2014 after Brightfields Development expressed interest in building a $65 million solar field there, the Belleville News-Democrat reported. The $19.5 million cleanup was completed in 2016, according to Alcoa.

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Mike Singer is the project manager for Brightfields Development, a Massachusetts-based solar company. He said the project was four years in the works, but financing complications have prevented it from moving forward.

According to estimates from the Solar Energy Industries Association, the solar field would be capable of producing 20 megawatts of energy, which would be enough to power thousands of homes.

Singer said the site is perfect for such a project because practically nothing else can be built there.

“The reason that solar is such a good fit is because there’s very little day-to-day operation and maintenance,” Singer said. “These are long-term projects with minimum moving parts that’s why (solar) is such a good reuse for contaminated sites.”

He said the Brightfields Development, which oversees projects in more than 25 states, is waiting for favorable financial circumstances before it moves forward with building the field.


Information from: Belleville News-Democrat, http://www.bnd.com

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