"Opportunities to install renewable energy systems on vacant properties can be found in every community," says Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "Tapping sun and wind power at brownfield sites, rooftops, parking lots, and abandoned land could provide untapped gigawatts of clean energy."
EPA estimates there are 490,000 sites and almost 15 million acres of potentially contaminated properties in the US, many of which are appropriate to site renewable energy on.
Along with the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), EPA is developing tools that help people evaluate sites in their communities to quickly find the best ones for solar and wind.
The tools give local communities and landowners ways to evaluate sites for renewable energy potential without the need for technical expertise.
The City of Richmond, Calif. is serving as a pilot community for development of the tools.
"We are extremely excited that the green, innovative City of Richmond, California is partnering with the EPA to help communities throughout the United States fully leverage technology to improve the environment, create local jobs and attract green companies," says Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, who states developing more renewable energy is a top priority.
Positioning renewable energy on sites increases their economic value, provides a sustainable land reuse option, creates local green jobs and provides clean energy for use on-site or for the utility grid.
Using the decision trees, state and local governments, site owners and community members can help identify the most desirable sites for solar or wind installations from both a logistical and economic standpoint.
In addition to opportunities in cities, thousands of potentially contaminated acres in less populated areas across the country could be put to beneficial reuse with renewable energy.
The tools can be used to evaluate individual or multiple sites, such as brownfields, Superfund and other hazardous waste sites, abandoned parcels, landfills, parking lots, and commercial or industrial roofs, depending on the technology.
Read about Solar Done Right.
Here's the link to the tools: