Former landfill now powering Johnston and Providence

A Street solar array will offset the power of municipal buildings in both communities

Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, business leaders and elected officials joined Southern Sky Renewable Energy RI today to mark the completion of the 3.9 MW solar array in Johnston. The former private landfill is now producing clean energy for the two municipalities saving taxpayers millions while also protecting the environment.


The 32-acre private landfill, capped and closed over 25 years ago, now hosts over 9,400 solar panels. The site is split into two systems to generate power for each municipality.


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“The Town of Johnston is putting vacant, unusable land back to work to benefit our taxpayers with electricity savings, enhance tax payments and scholarships for our senior high school students,” said Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena. “The former landfill is producing clean energy for our town buildings while also generating tax revenue.” 


The 2.2 MW from over 5,500 panels will power the Town of Johnston’s municipal and school buildings. The A Street solar array is just a small part of Providence’s renewable energy portfolio. Another 29 MW facility is currently under construction in Cranston. These two sites combined will offset approximately 60% of the City’s electricity needs. This project is the result of a competitive bid process that began in the summer of 2017


“This project is an important part of our strategy to become a carbon neutral city by 2050,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “With this project and the Cranston site, over half of our municipal buildings, including the schools, will be powered by clean, local solar electricity.  We are proud to be a part of this work, saving taxpayer dollars, diversifying our energy supply, and supporting local labor.” 


The renewable energy produced by the array will yield environmental benefits equal to taking 770 vehicles off the road annually and powering 538 households. 


“A Street is an example of what can happen when the private and public sector are committed to renewable energy and progress,” said company President Ralph A. Palumbo. “Southern Sky is proud to work with Mayor Polisena and Mayor Elorza to re-purpose a landfill site to generate clean energy and savings for their communities.”


The Department of Environmental Management, the Office of Energy Resources and CommerceRI also contributed to the success of the solar project. Southern Sky contracted with Conti Solar to design and construct the facility and the project received a capital investment from Captona Partners, a New York based investment company specializing in power generation and energy infrastructure assets. Other project partners include the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 99, DiPrete Engineering, Green Energy Consumers Alliance, Competitive Energy Solutions and Seminole Financial Services


Southern Sky Renewable Energy RI, a Rhode Island based business, is the leading solar developer in the state with over 100,000 panels installed and a pipeline of 296 MWs. They have worked with other municipalities in Rhode Island and New England to reduce energy costs and return landfill and brownfield sites to economic use.