Community Solar Landfill Project In New Jersey Is A Win–Win–Win–Win

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Clean energy is great anywhere, but it’s especially appreciated and valuable on land that can’t be used for much else. Landfill solar projects have been a very popular type of clean energy project as a result. The latest such project to get under construction is a 10 megawatt (MW) community solar landfill project being developed by CEP Renewables and CS Energy in Southampton, New Jersey.

This is not CEP Renewables’ first rodeo either. “We are excited to be able to build upon the success of our redevelopment project in Mount Olive, New Jersey — the largest solar landfill project in North America — by utilizing a similar process with this project,” said Chris Ichter, Executive Vice President at CEP Renewables.

The “community” element here makes it even more fun. “Beyond converting previously unusable land to a clean energy generating asset, the project will also serve low-to-moderate income (LMI) residents and will enable the Township to recoup 40 years of back taxes and interest,” a press release from the developers states.

The 10 MW solar farm is actually two 5 MW solar systems, and they are actually part of two utility districts. It will produce enough electricity for, theoretically, 2000 homes.

The process for purchasing this landfill site and getting it rolling is a unique one that CEP Renewables started with its Mount Olive project. The site had been abandoned for a long time, and it was racking up millions of dollars in tax liens. As agreed with the Township of Southampton, CEP Renewables purchased all of those tax liens, paid them off, foreclosed on the landfill property, and then was free to start developing the solar project. The Township of Southampton, meanwhile, got nearly 40 years of back taxes and interest on those back taxes paid off!

This is such a win-win-win-win project that it makes you wonder how many more such projects could go forward if the right actors come into the scene and see the opportunity. I’m not sure about the issue of tax liens and such, but there are certainly a lot of landfills or former landfills that could use the attention. The good news is they are getting tapped more and more for solar projects. The companies write: “There are over 10,000 closed landfills in the United States, and it has been determined that closed landfills could host more than 60 GW of solar capacity — enough to power 7.8 million homes or the state of South Carolina. There has also been an 80 percent increase in solar landfill projects over the past 5 years, due in large part to the landfill expertise that has been developed by companies such as CEP. This BEMS project represents just one of 16 landfill or brownfield projects that CEP currently has under development.”

CEP Energy has more than 100 MW of solar power installed in New Jersey, and it highlights that its projects help make New Jersey the #1 state in the US for solar power capacity per square mile. Though, there was a lot more that went into making that achievement, especially various solar and climate policies in the state.

You can learn more about the Southampton solar landfill project and its partners here.

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Zachary Shahan

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