New Jersey’s nickname is the Garden State. But, we often get a bad rap from our neighbors who have branded the state with some less than desirable monikers.
This is due, in part, to sites you see if you travel south from New York City by road or rail. Along the way, you pass through the core of New Jersey’s industrial center, which is not our most attractive landscape … to say the least.
Part of this landscape is a retired garbage dump in Kearny, New Jersey. The 35-acre landfill with views of the Jersey Turnpike and, off in the distance, Manhattan skyline, laid dormant since it closed in 1984 – until PSE&G stepped in.
In late 2011, we flipped the switch on the first utility-scale solar facility built on a state-owned landfill and, in the process, converted land with very limited developmental potential into a source of green energy. The PSE&G Kearny Solar Farm occupies 13 acres; its 12,500 solar panels produce three megawatts of energy for the grid, enough to power about 500 homes.
Kearny was just the start. Late last year, we completed work on our largest solar facility to date, the PSE&G Kinsley Solar Farm, built atop a closed landfill in Deptford, New Jersey. It produces enough electricity to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 8,000 tons a year. A third landfill solar farm also went into service late last year on a closed section of the Parklands Landfill in Bordentown.
But, it’s not just landfills that PSE&G is turning green; we have also converted four former PSE&G industrial properties called “brownfields” into clean energy-producing solar farms all over the state. Our solar systems that sit on brownfields have turned unproductive real estate from Hackensack to Hamilton Township into usable property that feeds power into the electric grid to the benefit of all PSE&G customers. In total, our efforts have resulted in the reclamation of more than 100 landfill and brownfield acres, on which over 100,000 solar panels have been installed, with the capability to power about 5,000 homes annually.
Sites like Kearny and Kinsley have become the latest frontier in renewable energy and a part of New Jersey’s latest Energy Master Plan. This innovative reuse of land helps us preserve precious open space – something all of us who reside in the nation’s most densely populated state can appreciate.
Turning landfills and brownfields green is obviously a huge win for the environment, but, as an added bonus, it’s also a win for New Jersey’s economy. PSE&G is proud to contribute to the development of a new, green industry that’s creating thousands of jobs and helping our nation build a sustainable energy future – with New Jersey playing a prominent part. Though smaller in the size of its geography than 45 other states, New Jersey is third in solar energy development behind much sunnier states like California and Arizona.
That’s a pretty impressive achievement!
Vice President-Customer Solutions