OLD BRIDGE – A community solar power project on the Global Landfill site gained support from the Township of Old Bridge.
Annika Colston, president and founder of AC Power LLC, said they are in the process of submitting an application with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to enter their proposed project into the New Jersey Community Solar Pilot program.
One of the key factors the BPU looks to when enrolling projects into the program is local support.
Colston and Kyle Miller, Mid-Atlantic regional director for the company, presented their proposed community solar project on the Global Landfill site at a Township Council meeting on Jan. 26.
The project has already received support from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the New Jersey Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Since 2016, AC Power has been dedicated to developing solar arrays on landfills, brownfields and other sites in need of rehabilitation.
AC Power has three operational projects in Gloucester Township, Delanco and Hopatcong.
The Global Landfill Community Solar project includes 4.5 MWdc solar array situated on 16 acres of flat surface of landfill cap, which will power approximately 750 New Jersey homes over 20 years. The landfill is 57 acres and the total lot and block area is 95 acres, Colston said.
Solar will be located on a concrete ballasted system, which does not disturb the landfill cap and is preferred by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Landscaping will include pollinator-friendly species to further enhance the site.
Miller said the New Jersey Community Solar Pilot program is part of Gov. Phil Murphy’s platform to achieve 50% renewable energy by 2030. The program offers clean renewable solar to non traditional customers including low-to-moderate (LMI) income individuals and multi-family housing as well as renters.
“One of the largest barriers for residents to get involved in solar is they don’t have site control at their residence,” he said “Fortunately with the community solar program, it enables these customers to bring or subscribe a percentage of power generated by a solar facility. In addition, the program strongly encourages developers to commit 51% of the project capacity or output to LMI [income] households subscribers.”
Miller said the program strongly encourages projects on brownfields and closed landfills, which is AC Power’s specialty having successfully developed on closed landfills within the state.
AC Power, as part of their application, is also offering funding for a nationally recognized certification test for renewable energy professionals as a way to encourage job seekers to take the test and enhance their resume.
The benefits of community solar include 15-25% savings on electric bills to subscribers, improves utility infrastructure and resiliency, and it provides additional environmental benefits such as native vegetation and habitat preservation.
The Global Landfill site is bordered by wetlands to the northeast, southeast and southwest in the drainage basin of Cheesequake Creek. Landfill remedy construction began in the summer of 2010 with the construction of a landfill gas management trench and venting system. The work was performed by WRS Compass under the management and oversight of the Global PRP Group and DEP, according the the DEP.
Global PRP Group is responsible for remedial activities at the site per the Environmental Protection Agency. AC Power and the PRP Group reached an agreement on the proposed terms of the Site Cooperation Agreement to situate solar on the landfill cap. AC Power engaged with Basin Realty to acquire their lots on the site and resolve tax liens.
The Township Council approved a resolution in support of AC Power’s proposed Community Solar application at Global Landfill to the NJBPU.