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The car dump that was turned into a solar farm

A decades-old quarry that was last used as a scrapyard for car parts has been transformed into a solar farm producing enough electricity for 760 homes. 

Some 7,600 Canadian solar panels now cover an area the size of four football fields in Bengħajsa, on the outskirts of Birżebbuġa. 

Its owners say it is expected to contribute to a reduction in carbon dioxide by almost 1,000 tonnes a year. 

The area was previously a quarry that acted as a landfill for various waste types, particularly for the disposal of Pulverised Fuel Ash (PFA) from the Marsa Power Station.

Dumping of fly ash ended after 1992, when the power station was modified from burning coal to using heavy-fuel oil. The area later became a dump for car parts before undergoing a decades-long ‘rehabilitation process’.

It was transformed into a solar farm in just nine months from being approved by the Planning Authority.

 

An aerial view of the former quarry, before it was transformed into a solar-farm.An aerial view of the former quarry, before it was transformed into a solar-farm.

 

Edward Hili, chief executive of the Hili Company, said it was the first solar farm to be built under the 2017 Solar Farm Policy.

“We recognise that more needs to be done to move towards a greener economy and we are determined to play our part,” he said.

The 29,000 square metre site was also landscaped with approximately 1,600 indigenous trees and plants, such as rosemary, carob and pomegranate and a traditional rubble wall was built around the perimeter to help it blend into the surroundings. 

Hili said that by repurposing a disused quarry to produce enough clean energy to power some 760 households annually, the company was playing its part as Malta moves towards a greener economy.

The project saw an investment of €3.5 million. 

“It is a good example of how public and private sector can both work towards meeting both of their goals and objectives in terms of economic objectives from a private sector point of view, economic objectives from a public sector point of view and also more broad environmental objectives which the government is driving,” he said. 

In July, Prime Minister Robert Abela inaugurated a new solar farm in Mġarr which will produce enough power to supply 2,200 households. 

The Imselliet Solar Power Plant sits atop a re-purposed quarry in the outskirts of Mġarr and  consists of 16,896 panels, generating 8.65 million units of clean energy per year, which will be fed into the national power grid as part of an agreement with State energy company Enemalta.

The plant, a private initiative by partners AX Group, PX Company, and Solar Solutions, is expected to displace approximately 4,000 tons of emissions annually.

Source: Times of Malta