Green Future For Former Mines

By Peggy Hammond    May 4, 2018

Solar is regularly in both domestic and global news, and at ISS, we support each effort to grow renewable energy.  Many might visualize a solar farm in a flat field and give it no more thought, but there are some who look at abandoned mines, even flooded ones, and see potential.

In Vermont, what once was a copper mine is now a 7MW solar facility.  The Elizabeth Mine farm covers 28 acres and was a Superfund site for which reclamation cost $70 million and took 14 years.  This is the state’s largest solar array, and it went operational in late 2017.  Vermont’s goal is to have 90% renewable energy by the year 2050.

By late 2018, the Berkeley Energy Group could begin construction in Pikeville, Kentucky, on a solar farm situated on their own reclaimed coal strip mine.  Although they aren’t sure at this early stage, the capacity could be 50 – 100MW.  Ryan Johns, Berkeley Energy’s Project Development Executive, believes that if this venture is successful, it is unlikely the company will stop here.  They have land in Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky, so there is great potential for more renewable projects.

This kind of progressive thinking when it comes to repurposing coal mines is global as well.  China’s Anhui province is home to what is currently the world’s largest floating solar array.  The 40MW floating farm is located on top of what formerly was a coal mine, one that collapsed because of an explosion.  Rains created a lake, filling in the mine, and now a solar farm is generating energy; it went operational in 2017.  Continuing the trend, China is building in the same province a second, bigger floating solar facility.  This new farm will generate 150MW; they hope to bring it fully operational in May 2018.

ISS is proud our business is part of the energy solution, and we understand each project makes a difference for our future.  ISS develops custom designed utility-scale solar farms.  For more information on opportunities to work with us, please see our website at or call John Green (CEO) 828-215-9064.