The Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) in Newark, N.J., hit the halfway mark in building a 12.93-MW grid-connected community solar farm on the closed L&D Landfill in Burlington County, N.J.
PSE&G, New Jersey’s oldest and largest regulated gas and electric delivery utility that serves nearly three-quarters of the state’s population, will work with Waste Management of New Jersey Inc.—owners of the closed landfill—and juwi, the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the L&D Solar Farm. PSE&G will own and operate the solar farm as part of its Solar 4 All Program.
“Through this program, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities authorized PSE&G to build 42 megawatts-dc of solar capacity on landfills and brownfields in our electric service territory, ” says Joe Forline, vice president of renewables and energy solutions for PSE&G.
Solar 4 All is a 125-MW community solar program that utilizes rooftops, parking lots, utility poles and landfills or brownfields for large-scale, grid connected solar projects.
“The program was initially approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) in 2009 allowing PSE&G to invest up to $515 million to install 80MW-dc of solar capacity—all installed to date,” says Forline. “The BPU approved an extension to the program in 2013 allowing PSE&G to invest up to $247 million more to install 42MW of solar capacity on landfills and brownfields and 3MW in solar pilot programs for storm hardening and grid resiliency. All Solar 4 All installations are grid-connected to PSE&G’s distribution system and the power is sold into the PJM wholesale power grid. As of November 2015 there are 101 MW of the 125MW total in service.”
As part of that program, the L&D Solar Farm will cover more than 50 acres and span the towns of Eastampton, Lumberton and Mount Holly, N.J. with 41,720 solar panels that will generate enough electricity to power 2,000 average-size New Jersey homes annually. When the project goes into service later this year, it will be the largest solar farm that PSE&G has built to date.
“This project is another example of how the Board approved Solar 4 All program is helping to achieve the goals of the Christie Administration's State Energy Master Plan,” N.J. Board of Public Utilities President Richard Mroz said in a statement. “Solar arrays installed in New Jersey, such as those developed through PSE&G’s Solar 4 All program, advance the State's goal of increasing diverse, clean, in-state generation and play a critical role as New Jersey continues to meet its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard with solar now accounting for almost 3 percent of the in-state generation mix with more than 1.5 gigawatts of capacity.”
The Waste Management-owned L&D Landfill stopped accepting trash in 1985 and its official closure was approved by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in 1995.
“Waste Management is proud to partner with PSE&G on this important project,” John Wohlrab, director of government relations, Greater Mid Atlantic Area, Waste Management said in a statement. “The former L&D landfill will have a productive new life as a solar farm that will be an environmental and economic asset for the region, reducing our carbon footprint and expanding the use of renewable energy in New Jersey.”
PSE&G estimates that at the height of construction, there will be approximately 180 people onsite working on the L&D solar project in a range of jobs, including electricians, engineers, carpenters, heavy equipment operators and laborers.
“All Solar 4 All installations including the L&D Solar Farm are grid-connected to PSE&G’s distribution system. By building community solar projects like this one, and connecting it directly to the PSE&G electric grid, we are ensuring that all of our electric customers truly share both the costs and the benefits of solar power—not just those with solar panels on their roofs,” says Forline.