Community solar brownfield pilot project nears completion in New Jersey


The first round of projects awarded under New Jersey’s Community Solar Energy Pilot Program are starting to come to life, as developer Navisun has said that its Linden Hawk Rise, a 4.5 MW community solar project in Union County, is nearing completion.

The project is being built on the City of Linden’s former landfill, converting a previously unusable site into a productive solar farm. Navisun acquired the project back in January.

The state’s community solar pilot, administered by New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program, provides access to solar energy through a subscription-based model. In its first year of the pilot, regulators awarded slightly more than the allocated 75 MW, with 78 MW across 45 projects being approved.

A key stipulation of the program is that at least 40% of all approved projects reserve at least 51% of their capacity to serve low- and middle-income households. Of the roughly 800 New Jersey residents Linden Hawk Rise is expected to deliver energy to, more than half are low- or middle-income.

The 40% project requirement proved an easy stipulation to meet, as 100% of the projects approved in year one reserved at least 51% of their capacity for low- and middle-income customers. For year two of the pilot, where the total awarded capacity was doubled from 75 MW to 150 MW, all but one of the projects applied for approval, which represented more than 800.5 MW of total capacity, met the reservation criteria.

Linden Hawk Rise will be among the first projects awarded in round one of the program to achieve commercial operation. In January, the first community solar projects were energized as part of the pilot program’s first year. Projects included 7 MW in Perth Amboy, near New York City, constructed by New Jersey-based developer Solar Landscape. Following in their footsteps, developer Soltage announced the completion of a 3.1 MW installation this past May. That project was also constructed on a closed landfill.

Linden and nearby residents can subscribe to the Linden Hawk Rise Solar Project here.

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