Drivers on the New Jersey turnpike will soon get a glimpse of their fossil fuel consumption being offset with renewable solar power. Not to be out-done by other states turning the barren expanses of landfills into solar power plants (i.e., New York and Massachusetts), New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno recently announced plans to host a solar farm on a state-owned landfill. The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission’s (NJMC) 1A Landfill Solar Project in Kearny will be the first project of its kind in New Jersey.
The 3-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) system will consist of 12,506 solar panels mounted on 13 acres atop a defunct landfill. The site will initially be owned and operated by SunDurance Energy, the Edison-based company that will construct the project. Just prior to the project’s completion, Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), New Jersey’s oldest and largest publicly owned utility, will purchase the solar farm.
The $18 million solar project, expected to be online by the end of the year, highlights how this state is taking solar power seriously. New Jersey recently surpassed California as the country’s largest commercial solar market, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, and now accounts for 24 percent of all commercial arrays in the U.S.
“Projects such as this represent a fulfillment of Governor Christie’s campaign promise to increase the use of landfills and brownfields for solar projects that also foster job creation,” said Guadagno. “Further, the Christie Administration’s draft Energy Master Plan lays out a clear and realistic path to a sustainable energy future that promotes economic growth and job creation, protects our environment, and maintains the 7th most aggressive renewable portfolio standard in the nation at 22.5 percent.”