New Jersey community solar landfill project to serve LMI residents

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CEP Renewables and CS Energy have begun construction of two co-located solar projects on the Big Hill Landfill in Southampton, N.J. Not only does the project convert previously unusable land to a clean energy generating asset, energy generated by the solar installation will serve low-to-moderate income (LMI) residents and enable the township to recoup 40 years of back taxes and interest. Construction of this project is expected to be complete by May 2023.

“We are excited to be able to build upon the success of our redevelopment project in Mount Olive, N.J. – 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.

 Earlier this month, CEP Renewables and CS Energy announced the completion of what is reportedly the largest North America landfill solar project, at 25.6 MW(DC). 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 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.

The BEMS project was also purchased by way of the redevelopment and tax lien foreclosure process, which the companies report is a structure that was entirely unique before the Mount Olive project. The Big Hill landfill site in Southampton had been abandoned by its former owner, resulting in the site accruing millions of dollars in tax liens. As part of the public-private partnership between CEP and the Township of Southampton, CEP acquired the tax liens from the township, paying back all past-due taxes in the process, and foreclosed on the landfill property.

“We’re proud that CEP Renewables has selected us to provide our expertise for this impactful landfill solar project due to our proven ability to complete these challenging projects safely and cost effectively,” said Michael Dillon, director of operations at CS Energy. “We look forward to working alongside CEP Renewables to convert a previously unusable site into a solar generating field that will provide substantial environmental and financial benefits to this local community.”

Like the Mount Olive project, the Southampton project will use ballasted solar racking systems from Terrasmart.

This project represents just one of 16 landfill or brownfield projects that CEP currently has under development, and brings CEP’s New Jersey installations to over 100 MW, contributing to New Jersey’s ranking as the number one U.S. state for installed solar capacity per square mile, according to CEP, as well as for the most planned community solar capacity serving LMI households.

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