‘Sun’ rises over the Meadowlands


Photos courtesy Brian Aberback of NJMC/ Solar panels straddle NJ Turnpike.


Photos courtesy Brian Aberback of NJMC


By Jeff Bahr

Nodding to the power of the “green” movement in the United States, a long- dormant landfill In Kearny now features the very first solar farm on a state-owned landfill.

A group of agencies and corporations including PSE&G, Sundurance Energy, and the New Jersey Meadowlands Commisiion (NJMC) came to the site on May 8 to dedicate the new facility aptly dubbed the Kearny Landfill Solar Farm, which, when fully operable will have enough capacity to power 450 to 675 homes.

Situated on a 13-acre capped section of the NJMC 1A Landfill, which has been closed for over 30 years, the 3 megawatt installation comprised of more than 12,500 solar panels is an offshoot of PSE&G’s “Solar 4 All” project; a $450 million program slated to develop 80 megawatts of solar capacity while helping to create associated “good” jobs in the process. Presently, 64 megawatts are in service. The rest is expected to be on tap by late 2012 or early 2013.

A joint effort between PSE&G, Sundurance, and the NJMC, the project was funded in part by an $8.5 million New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) ‘American Recovery and Reinvestment Act State Energy Program’ grant that was awarded to the NJMC. According to PSE&G President Ralph LaRossa, the solar farm represents a step forward for the state, and a spectacular purpose for an otherwise useless chunk of land.

“This project opens a new chapter in New Jersey lore,” explained LaRossa. “These landfills have sat dormant for years, and have been a familiar sight to northern New Jersey residents for as long as I can remember. This project updates that story, showing how 21st century technology coupled with public-private partnerships can return even the most unusable space to a productive purpose. “

Gov. Chris Christie has talked about making better use of landfill and brownfields, and this is a perfect example of that,” LaRossa added.

Learn more about the writer ...