New Jersey will turn an old landfill into a new solar field. Once full of litter and piles of trash, PSE&G wants to fill with Solar Energy Panels.
The public utility company is seeking a preliminary and final site plan. The approval is for a 9 megawatt solar array at the shuttered Parklands Landfill on Route 206.
A ballasted racking system would be used instead of a ground-mounted solar system because the state Department of Environmental Protection prohibits the penetration of landfill caps, said Todd Hranicka, director of solar energy for PSE&G. The solar panels would instead rest atop cement blocks.
Turning a Landfill into a New Solar Field
The project, which would cover 40 acres, is part of PSE&G’s extended “Solar4All” initiative, which has turned its focus to the development of large-scale solar energy projects atop landfills and brownfields, Hranicka said.
In line with the state’s revised energy master plan, it emphasizes shifting solar installations from farmland. There is also open space to otherwise unusable properties.
“It’s a valuable, productive way that you can make use of that land,” Hranicka said.
PSE&G, which now has solar panels on one landfill and four brownfields, is working to expand its solar presence by building an additional 42 megawatts. The public utility collaborated with an environmental engineering firm to find the most cost-effective landfills for solar in its service territory, Hranicka said.
Parklands was among the top-rated in its short list, he said.
PSE&G would lease the site from Waste Management and own and operate the solar array.
The site is has Interstate 295 and commercial properties all around it. Some residents live across the street on Dunns Mill Road.
The trees and berm hide see any solar panels from anywhere unless you’re on the site.
He added that the project has support from township officials.
“Everyone feels like this is a very appropriate use of a closed landfill,” said Brian Johnson, the township’s director of community development. “It’s a permitted use … which means the applicant has a leg up on this.”