After 40 years of cleanup and remediation, a closed New Jersey landfill site is now home to a working 25.6-MW solar array.
CEP Renewables, CS Energy, Terrasmart Lindsay Precast and NJR Clean Energy Ventures have completed what they call the largest landfill solar project in North America. The site in Mount Olive, N.J., was a long operated landfill which closed in the early 1980s and was turned into an EPA Superfund cleanup due to the groundwater contamination and other environmental issues, according to reports.
What used to be the Combe Fill North Landfill now is home to nearly 60,000 solar panels which can generate carbon-free electricity into the New Jersey grid. The conversion also enables the local township to recoup some $2.3 million in past taxes.
The partnership which tackled the solar possibilities of the Combe Fill landfill has done a number of other landfill solar projects before this one. And there are many more to do, they say.
“We’re pleased to have been able to work closely with our reliable, long-time partners to convert yet another, previously unusable, landfill site into a renewable energy generating power plant,” said Chris Ichter, Executive Vice President at CEP Renewables, in a statement. “There are over 10,000 closed landfills in the United States, yet only a small fraction of these parcels have been redeveloped. Transitioning more of these landfill sites into solar projects will create more local tax revenue, jobs, cleaner air, and affordable energy for residents throughout the country.”
Active landfills emit large amounts of methane gas, which is considered by scientists to a far more dangerous greenhouse gas than even carbon dioxide (CO2). Some are working on trash-to-energy projects creating power plants while others such as this group are exploring alternative energy prospects for otherwise unused closed sites.
The 65-acre Combe Fill operated as a landfill taking in refuse and some dry sewage from 1966 to the late 1970s. In 1979, the groundwater beneath the landfill was found to be comtaminated with volatile organic compounds and contaminants such as toluene, methane, hexachlorobenzene and others.
Remediation work was completed in the early 1990s, with a methane gas venting system installed.
Landfill solar projects have risen 80 percent in frequency over the last five years, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. CEP has worked on numerous such projects, such as the BFI South Brunswick landfill, Old Bridge Clay Pits site and the Fibermark Paper Plant site.
-- -- --