Sharjah-based Bee'ah to build solar farm over capped landfill

The waste management firm has the highest landfill diversion rate in the Middle East, at 76%

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: Khaled Al Huraimel, Group Chief Executive officer giving the tour of the facilities at Bee'ah Waste Management.  Ruel Pableo for The National for Anna Zacharias story
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Sharjah waste management company Bee’ah plans to build a solar farm over 47 hectares of capped landfill, the first such scheme in the UAE that will add more renewable energy to grid.

The project, which is expected to generate more than 42 megawatts of electricity on an annual basis, will be built over Al Saja’a landfill in Sharjah.

The site will be converted into 27.05ha of land available for solar panels during the project's first phase that is expected to generate 24MW of electricity.

The second phase will transform a further 20ha of capped landfill to host a 16MW solar power plant.

Bee'ah group chief executive Khaled Al Huraimel said the move would help Sharjah “attain its renewable energy targets” and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.

Founded in 2007, Bee’ah – which means “environment” in English – collects more than three million tonnes of waste a year.

The company 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.

Capped landfill is a challenge for urban planners and municipalities as “extensive remediation and monitoring” is required over a long period – up to about 30 years – before such sites can be redeveloped.

“Turning closed landfill [sites] 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.