Solar Project at Ivy

Example of a Solar Field

Project Description

Rivanna Solid Waste Authority Board of Directors authorized a land lease contract with a developer to install a solar array at the Ivy Material Utilization Center (IMUC or former Ivy Landfill) on June 27, 2017. The array, located on 10-14 acres of the old landfill site, will generate an estimated 2 megawatts of electricity annually, which is enough to power about 1,000 homes per year. The landfill cover will remain undisturbed as concrete pads will be placed on top of the landfill cap to support the solar arrays. This project will bring in $10,000 per year in revenue over the 25 year period. The land lease contract with Community Power Group, based in Bethesda, Maryland should be signed by the end of August 2017. Construction is tentatively slated to begin the Summer of 2018.

Design Information

Plans for Solar Arrays at Ivy

The project will be minimally invasive as not to disturb the landfill cap. The grass layer will be removed and replaced with a thin layer of gravel. A cement “ballast block” will be placed or constructed on top of the gravel layer; the cement block will be used to support the metal frame to which the solar panels are mounted. After installation, the panels are wired together with on-site controls and will be connected to the Dominion Energy electrical grid.


  • Land lease payments would total $250,000 over the 25 year life of the project.
  • Revenue from this project would support the Environmental Programs which manage the closed landfill expenses in the RSWA budget.
  • The 10-14 acres of land to be utilized for this project is generally part of closed Cell 2-Unlined; this cell has no plans for future development and therefore is considered an unusable “brownfield” site.
  • The renewable electric energy produced by this solar project will power approximately 1,000 homes.
  • The project developer plans to pursue a power purchase agreement (PPA) with an organization in our community that supports disadvantaged residents.
  • This project aligns with RSWA and the community’s desire to pursue and support environmentally sustainable projects.
  • The solar panels can be removed and the land restored upon project completion.



  • Contracting – August 2017
  • Permitting, Utility Interconnection, Power Purchase Agreement – January 2018
  • Dominion Energy RFP Selection – January 2018
  • Construction Begins – Summer 2018
  • Project Completion – December 2018


Frequently Asked Questions

Will there be a lot of glare from the solar panels?

The solar panels are designed to absorb solar energy to turn it into electricity and NOT to deflect the sun rays. That would be “lost” energy, so the panel materials are specifically designed not to do this.

Will wildlife be negatively impacted?

Some questions of this nature come from the idea that solar panels are like wind turbines in that they could harm birds and bats. We have not heard reports of any negative impacts to wildlife. Also, this development is being located on an existing brownfield site means that any potential loss or fragmentation of habitat is avoided.

Will my viewshed be negatively impacted?

Solar energy systems are not “invisible” nor are they overly obtrusive, but may take some getting used to. They are dark blue to black and will be low (5-10 ft high) and ground-hugging. They will not have movement or blinking lights that could draw people’s attention.

Will they generate any significant noise?

Solar arrays are mostly quiet. Any noise generated by the system comes from the inverters that transform the direct current generated by the panels to the correct alternating current that is suitable for the electrical grid. The low hum produced by the inverters is comparable to the small transformers generally found in residential front yards or electrical poles. It is doubtful that this hum would even be perceived at the site property line.

What can I expect during construction in the way of truck traffic?

Truck traffic will be minimal for this project Materials will be brought to the site on several tractor trailers with assembly of the solar arrays on-site. There may be some cement truck traffic if the ballast blocks are formed and poured at the site.