CEP Renewables and CS Energy announced the completion of what is reportedly the largest North America landfill solar project, in Mount Olive, NJ, at 25.6 MW(DC).
Located at the former Combe Fille North Landfill Superfund site, the large brownfield solar project will provide the township of Mount Olive with close to $2.3 million in past tax revenues while creating a future revenue-generating renewable energy asset.
With 10,000 closed landfill sites in the U.S., there has been an 80% increase in the number of landfill solar project developments at brownfield sites in recent years, according to the EPA.
“This is our eighth project with CEP Renewables, our seventh project with Lindsay Precast and our fourteenth landfill solar project with Terrasmart. Our strong partnerships with each of these industry leaders also enabled us to efficiently deliver this high quality landfill solar project, which will provide significant financial and environmental benefits to this community long-term,” said Mike Dillon, director of operations at CS Energy.
According to New Jersey’s Environmental Protection website, the capped Mount Olive landfill is a 65-acre brownfield site that ceased accepting waste in 1981.
The project was developed by CEP Renewables and CS Energy. Lindsay Precast supplied steel skids for the project and Terrasmart supplied its Glide fixed-tilt, ballasted mounted rack systems.
NJR Clean Energy Ventures, a subsidiary of investor-owned utility New Jersey Resources, will own and operate the solar facility under a long-term agreement.
Besides its size and local tax benefits, the Mount Olive project is noteworthy because it involved the purchase of the landfill by way of the redevelopment and tax lien foreclosure process. As a result, the project won the 2021 Award for Innovation in Governance from the New Jersey League of Municipalities.
Under New Jersey’s 2019 Energy Master Plan, the Garden State outlined a goal of producing 100% renewable energy assets by 2050 with a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from 2006 levels. The state identified 30 prospective and development-stage brownfield landfill solar sites at the time of the master plan.
CEP Renewables has constructed 141.5 MW of solar projects to date in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Mount Olive is the company’s second New Jersey landfill solar project after the 13 MW South Brunswick project was installed in mid-2018.
CS Energy, an American Securities portfolio company, has installed about 180.1 MW of landfill solar projects to date around the Northeast U.S. out of a 1.5 GW operational solar portfolio.
Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) developed a comprehensive report, “The Future of Landfills is Bright,” designed for elected officials, policymakers, planners, and developers, to learn how landfill solar can be part of a broader clean energy and land-use strategy to achieve ambitious community-wide climate, sustainability, and environmental justice goals.
RMI said there are more than 10,000 closed and inactive landfills across the country. It said more than 63 GW of solar power plant capacity could be located at less than half of US landfills, generating 83 terawatt hours of electricity each year across all 50 states. The plants also could generate more than $6.6 billion annually in electricity revenue.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, around 428 MW of utility-scale landfill solar across 126 projects had been installed at the end of 2019. Notably, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York are home to 73% of all US utility-scale landfill solar projects.
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