Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) joined the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) and SunDurance Energy to dedicate the Kearny Landfill Solar Farm, the first solar project on a state-owned landfill.
The 3-megawatt (MW) installation is part of PSE&G’s Solar 4 All™ program and was built on a 13-acre capped section of the closed NJMC 1A Landfill.
The project is a joint effort between PSE&G, the NJMC, which manages the landfill, and SunDurance Energy, an Edison-based solar developer, which did the construction. It was funded in part by an $8.5 million New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act State Energy Program grant awarded to the NJMC.
The installation of more than 12,500 solar panels on the closed landfill illustrates how clean energy projects can breathe new life into otherwise unusable sites, according to PSE&G’s president, Ralph LaRossa.
“This project opens a new chapter in New Jersey lore,” LaRossa said. “These landfills have sat dormant for years, and have been a familiar site to northern New Jersey residents for as long as I can remember. This project updates that story, showing how 21st century technology coupled with public-private partnerships can return even the most unusable space to a productive purpose.”
“With the support of the Christie administration, we hope that this is the first of several landfill solar projects that transform sites all over the state into a source of pride and clean renewable energy,” LaRossa added.
PSE&G owns and operates the solar farm and leases the land from the NJMC, creating a new source of revenue for the commission. The facility began operations in December 2011.
NJBPU President Bob Hanna, who attended the dedication ceremony, also noted: “Today’s dedication of the first solar project developed on a state-owned landfill is a major milestone in the Christie administration’s efforts to support renewable energy projects. “This project is a great example of the policies contained in the 2011 State Energy Master Plan because it supports the development of solar power with the added benefit of making productive an otherwise useless site.”
The NJMC is a regional leader in the production and promotion of renewable energy. In addition to creating the NJMC 1A Landfill Solar Project, the Commission in January unveiled a 120-kilowatt carport solar canopy consisting of 504 photovoltaic panels covering a section of the Commission’s main parking lot in Lyndhurst.
“The Christie administration, the Meadowlands Commission and PSE&G are leading by example in pursuing smart, effective and realistic renewable energy policies that help to improve the environment and boost economic growth,” said Marcia Karrow, executive director of the NJMC. “The Commission is happy to help advance the governor’s energy goals and pleased that the NJMC 1A Landfill Solar Project is now part of PSE&G’s Solar 4 All program.”
The Kearny Landfill Solar Farm joins three other PSE&G Solar 4 All projects (in Linden, Trenton and Edison, NJ) that utilize brownfields. Another brownfield solar farm is in development on PSE&G property in Hackensack. As with all Solar 4 All projects, power from the Kearny Meadowlands Landfill Solar Farm flows directly to the electric grid for the benefit of all PSE&G electric customers.
Solar 4 All is a $450 million program to develop 80 MW of solar capacity while creating good jobs, helping New Jersey reach its renewable energy goals and increasing the state’s reputation as a national leader in solar development. More than 64 MW already are in service, with the rest expected to be in service by late 2012 or early 2013.
The program is equally divided into two segments. The first consists of developing more than 20 centralized solar installations and includes the Kearny Landfill Solar Farm. The second consists of installing up to 40 MW of pole-attached solar panels in neighborhoods on utility poles in PSE&G’s service territory.