At the close of 2014 two Public Service Enterprise Group landfill solar farms in New Jersey went online with the grid, able to provide enough estimated electricity to power some 3,500 homes annually.
Developed under the utility’s “Solar 4 All” umbrella, the projects at the Kinsley Solar Farm (11.18 MW) in Deptford, New Jersey and the Parklands Solar Farm (10.14 MW) in Bordentown, New Jersey, represent the two largest centralized solar projects built to date by Public Service Enterprise Group (PSE&G).
PSE&G now counts a total renewable energy portfolio of 26 solar farms and 174,000 pole-attached solar units that supply more than 101 MW of electricity. Seven of those solar farms have been built on either landfill or brownfield sites. In total, more than 110 acres of landfill and brownfield space features the installation of more than 106,000 solar panels with a generating capacity exceeding 31 MW of renewable power, or enough power to supply 5,000 homes annually.
“Utilizing landfills like Kinsley and Parklands allows us to provide grid-connected renewable energy to our electric customers, increase the amount of solar generation in the state and also give new purpose to land that would otherwise have very limited opportunities for development,” said Joe Forline, vice president, customer solutions for PSE&G, in a press announcement.
Specifically, the Parklands Solar Farm transforms 40 acres of landfill space into a solar generation locale containing 33,402 solar panels. The Kinsley Solar Farm fills 35 acres of unused landfill space with 36,841 solar panels. Estimates show these solar farms will generate enough electricity annually to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 15,000 tons.
New Jersey Senate president Stephen Sweeney has championed landfill solar projects like these, stating they are not just good for the state’s environment and public health, they are a plus for the economy, creating jobs in the growing clean energy sector.
Since 2009, PSEG has invested over $515 million in its “Solar 4 All” program, creating some 1,600 jobs in the process. Construction estimates show approximately 200 people worked on the Kinsley and Parklands projects, including electricians, engineers, heavy equipment operators, ironworkers, laborers and truck drivers.
“The benefits of the Parklands Solar Farm extend far beyond supplying renewable energy,” said New Jersey State Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo as part of this press announcement. “In addition to powering hundreds of homes and businesses, turning a landfill green with solar power and helping to improve New Jersey’s environment, it also created dozens of good jobs in a wide range of trades.”
Waste Management of New Jersey, which owns the Parklands site, partnered with PSE&G in the development and planning. Tara Hemmer, vice president of Waste Management’s Greater Mid-Atlantic area, said, “Projects and partnerships like this one will continue to reduce our carbon footprint, make our nation less dependent on foreign energy, and improve our environment.”
Transtech Industries is the parent company of Kinsley Landfill, Inc., owners of the Kinsley landfill. Dan Edwards, Transtech president and CEO, said, “It’s certainly no surprise that an all-around environmental, and energy win resulted from the professionalism of PSE&G, the expertise and dedication of our folks at our top-rated Kinsley Landfill, and the vision of our political leaders including Mayor Paul Medany of Deptford, State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, and Congressman Donald Norcross.”
The Parklands and Kinsley Solar Farms are the first built as part of the 45 MW extension to the Solar 4 All effort that was approved in May, 2013 by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU). The BPU approved the first 80 MW of Solar 4 All in July 2009.
According to the PSE&G website, Solar 4 All provides the following benefits to New Jersey customers:
- The program is helping to create jobs and drive economic development by making New Jersey a leading state for solar power.
- The power generated by Solar 4 All projects is used by all PSE&G electric customers.
- Solar 4 All provides New Jersey with clean, carbon-free renewable energy, replacing some amount of traditional fossil fuel electric generation.
- The value from the sale of electricity and capacity into the wholesale electric market, the solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs) that it generates and the federal investment tax credits are used to help offset the cost of the program.
- Solar 4 All is turning landfills and brownfields green by building solar farms on this otherwise unusable space.
Solar 4 All is divided into two initiatives – 85 megawatts of “centralized” solar and 40 megawatts in “neighborhood” solar (pole attached solar units). This approach allows PSE&G to tap previously unused resources – space on utility poles, remediated brownfields and flat-top roofs – to unlock solar’s potential and deliver its benefits to all customers.