Since 2009, the Public Service Electric and Gas Company has been focusing on the generation of new solar energy. Through more than $500 million and 2,000 new jobs, PSE&G's Solar 4 All program has brought more than 100 megawatt-dc to New Jersey homes and businesses.
Three of the 26 solar projects active today are located on top of landfills, located in Bordentown, Deptford and Kearny, New Jersey. Four others are built on brownfields. According to NJBIZ, the company views landfills as ideal spots to set up solar farms.
"In many cases, there's no other development option that would be considered for this land," Todd Hranicka, the director of solar energy at PSE&G, explained to NJBIZ. "So it's a way of taking that unusable land and giving it a productive use."
Building more solar
Recently, the company announced it reached the halfway point in constructing another solar farm atop a landfill, this one located in Burlington County, New Jersey. The L&D Landfill is closed and owned by Waste Management of New Jersey, Inc. While Waste Management will continue to own the landfill, PSE&G will own and operate the L&D Solar Farm. Hranicka stated that, by the end of 2016, New Jersey landfills and brownfields will have the capacity to produce nearly 53 megawatts of solar energy through solar farms built on top of them.
The solar farm will cover more than 50 acres, contain 41,720 solar panels and cross over Mount Holly, Eastampton and Lumberton townships. It will have a capacity of 12.93 MW-dc and should have the ability to power about 2,000 homes every year. This will be the largest grid-connected solar project from the company thus far.
"Waste Management is proud to partner with PSE&G on this important project," John Wohlrab, the director of government relations for Waste Management's Greater Mid Atlantic Area, said in a press release. "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."
The company aims to construct 22 more MW-dc of solar energy through the Solar 4 All program in the upcoming years. The program has an overall goal of creating 125 MW-dc for New Jersey. So far, 100 MW-dc are in service.
The Solar 4 All program hopes to diversify New Jersey's energy portfolio and bring PSE&G customers cleaner energy. So far, almost 3 percent of the state's energy comes from solar. NJBIZ reports that, by 2020, the state hopes that renewables will account for 22.5 percent of energy capacity.
Aside from utilizing landfills and brownfields, the company has also used the space-saving innovation, pole-attached solar. This uses utility poles to support solar units. Each 40-MW-dc pole takes advantage of vertical space, saving the company 140 acres of land. Currently, more than 174,000 units are in use throughout the state.