Developer takes over New York landfill solar site


Reclaimed land from capped landfill sites has proven to be fertile ground for turning brownfield sites into bright fields of ground-mounted solar, driven by economics of scale, local tax revenue to town hosts as well as financial incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act.

Coast Energy, a private equity-backed commercial and industrial (C&I) solar and storage developer, announced the acquisition of an 8.6 MW brownfield solar project located near Brookhaven, N.Y., in Suffolk County, N.Y., from i.on Renewables, a White Plains, N.Y. solar developer.

The brownfield solar project site spans 35 acres of limited use, capped landfill where over 16,000 solar panels will be constructed using a fixed-tilt, ballasted installation. The solar facility will feed into utility Public Service Enterprise Group – Long Island’s (PSEG-LI) grid.

Coast Energy will own, operate and perform ongoing maintenance on the Brookhaven solar system upon completion.

“This project is a perfect illustration of how we work with our development partners to make distributed solar power generation a reality,” says Kip Perry, chief development officer at Coast Energy. ” Co-development opportunities play a big role in our continued expansion throughout the U.S., and we’re looking forward to completing the late-stage development and breaking ground in Brookhaven.”

“The collaboration between the Town of Brookhaven and Coast Energy is another big step toward creating the energy park at our Yaphank waste management facility that has been our goal for many years,” said Ed Romaine, town supervisor of Brookhaven, N.Y.

In April 2022, Coast Energy received a growth investment from Houston-based investment firm Crosstimbers Capital Group to accelerate its commercial solar development and power purchase agreement financing platform.Following the investment, Coast Energy managed just over $400 million of solar, storage and other distributed generation assets across the U.S.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s federal landfill database, the Brookhaven landfill site is a 90-plus acre landfill site in Yaphank, N.Y., opened in 1974 and closed in 1990 at capacity of 8.1 million tons of landfill waste.

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) estimates there are more than 10,000 closed and inactive landfills across the country, enough to power 7.8 million homes with clean energy. RMI 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 EPA, 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.

CEP Renewables recently completed work on the largest recorded landfill solar project in the U.S., the 25.6 MW Mount Olive, N.J., facility. The development company has 16 landfill or brownfield solar projects under development.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes a $3 billion carveout called the Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants, which provides investments to community-led projects that address disproportionate environmental and public health harms related to pollution and climate change. Various funding mechanisms of the IRA will provide incentives to landfill redevelopment into clean energy projects.

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