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City gets federal help to assess old landfills for solar projects

At least five closed sites will be studied

At least five of the City of Tucson's closed landfills will be studied by the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency to determine the feasibility of developing solar energy projects at such sites, the City announced Tuesday.

The City of Tucson owns 16 old landfills that are not easily redeveloped. Byproducts of waste decomposition pose problems with the land, said Jeffrey Drumm, Environmental Services' project manager, in a press release.

The DOE and EPA will provide technical assistance to determine how best to build solar energy systems on the old landfills and the best way to obtain financing for such projects, Drumm said.

The development of renewable energy has been a goal of Mayor Jonathan Rothschild  and the City Council, Drumm said.

"These large, shade-free closed landfills are close to distribution lines and are a great resource we would like to develop if technically feasible. This study will help us zoom in on any additional preparation we need to do to move ahead," said Bruce Plenk, City of Tucson solar energy coordinator, in the release.

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Scott*/Flickr

Solar panels on top of a capped landfill in the Nevada desert are a power source for Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.