Sharjah-based waste management company Bee’ah plans to build a solar energy facility over 47 hectares of capped landfill.
The scheme, which is expected to generate more than 42 megawatts of electricity on an annual basis, will be built over Al Saja’a landfill area in Sharjah.
The landfill area will be converted to 270,565 square metres of land available for solar panels in the first phase of the project, which is expected to generate 24MW of electricity. The second phase will transform a further 200,099 square metres of capped landfill to host a facility capable of generating 16MW of power.
The planned reuse of the landfill area to generate clean energy will help Sharjah “attain its renewable energy targets” and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, said Bee’ah group chief executive Khaled Al Huraimel.
Founded in 2007, Bee’ah – which means “environment” in Arabic – collects more than three million tonnes of waste a year.
Bee’ah has the highest landfill diversion rate in the Middle East, at 76 per cent. This means less than a quarter of waste is going to landfill, with the rest recycled and reused.
Redeveloping capped landfill is a challenge for urban planners and municipalities. Used landfill areas require “extensive remediation and monitoring” over long stretches of time – 30 years or so – before sites can be redeveloped.
“Turning closed landfills into solar farms can benefit the environment through sustainable energy generation with only limited requirements for access and remediation work, which makes this approach both economically and environmentally beneficial,” Bee’ah said.
In an interview with The National in 2019, Mr Huraimel said the company planned to generate close to 100MW of power through biomass and solar energy.