Are utilities missing out on the opportunity to use old coal sites for solar?

Utilities could turn liabilities into assets by building solar arrays where burning coal has left a site unsuitable for other purposes — but only a few forward-looking utilities are even exploring the possibility.

Unused coal sites make up a small portion of the 450,000+ U.S. brownfields, where expansion, redevelopment or reuse is complicated by hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants. But a coal site is a liability for its utility or independent power producer (IPP) owner. It offers no benefits and imposes maintenance costs that burden ratepayers and shareholders.