Open space abounds in Colorado, and Carbondale’s Clean Energy Collective (CEC) is turning unusable swaths of that land into alternative power sources. The three-year-old company already broke new ground in the energy sector by developing large-scale solar facilities collectively owned by opt-in utility customers. The kicker: The arrays are placed on otherwise wasted pieces of land, such as idle runway tracts. This summer, CEC enters the Front Range with a solar garden near Windsor.

The next major step could be landfills: CEC wants to top garbage heaps with solar panels. “It makes sense to look for compromised land that we can make productive again,” says founder Paul Spencer. “Landfills are a natural fit.” The company is only in the negotiation phase, but Colorado would be the first state to see this kind of community-owned solar repurposing—meaning your discarded wrappers could soon become more than just an eyesore.