January 21, 2018
From the proverbial ashes of an environmental nightmare, the phoenix of a solar energy farm will rise over the next year or so, transforming the Sutton Brook landfill site in South Tewksbury from a contaminated dumping ground into an environmentally positive, energy generating and revenue enhancing contributor to the town.
According to Town Manager Richard Montuori, a letter of intent has been signed with Syncarpha Capital of New York, a private equity firm which develops, owns and operates commercial and utility scale photovoltaic (PV) solar energy systems throughout the United States and Canada.
Syncarpha has extensive local experience reclaiming landfill sites for use as solar energy generating platforms including locations in Billerica, Stow, Palmer and Scituate. In the agreement, Syncarpha will be responsible for the entire project from construction through energy generation, leasing the land from Tewksbury and using a PILOT — payment in lieu of taxes model — for 25 years with an extension option of up to 10 additional years.
Syncarpha will be constructing a 3.3 megawatt AC generating field of photovoltaic racked panels on concrete blocks in places where the panels will sit on the landfill cap. For areas off of the landfill cap, driven piles may be used. Syncarpha’s documentation indicates awareness of the sensitivity of the landfill cap and points to its multiple Massachusetts installations on such sites and the cautions taken not to disturb the cap during construction.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s description of the site reads “The 50-acre Sutton Brook Disposal Area site is located in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. A small part of the site also extends into the town of Wilmington. The site includes three source areas — a 50-acre landfill, an area of buried drums and contaminated soils associated with the drum disposal area. Waste disposal activities on site from the 1950s to 1988 led to soil, sediment, surface water, groundwater and air contamination.”