PSE&G and Highland Park Announce Landfill Solar Storage System

Public Service Electric and Gas Co. and the Borough of Highland Park, New Jersey today announced that work has started on a solar storage system that will be built on the borough’s former municipal landfill. The project will be the fifth solar storage system that PSE&G has built as part of its Solar 4 All® program. It will convert two acres of dormant space on Donaldson Street to productive use and also incorporate streetscaping to further transform the once-fallow area.

“Highland Park was New Jersey’s first Green Community and we are committed to supporting a healthy and sustainable environment,” said Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler. “By working with PSE&G on this solar storage project, we will transform a plot of underutilized land from an eyesore to an asset and also do our part to help increase the amount of renewable energy in the borough and the state.”

The Highland Park Solar Storage System will be located on an unused plot of land between South 7th Ave and Crowells Road and between Donaldson and Graham streets and will combine a 1,764 panel, 605 kilowatt-dc solar farm with 2,000 kilowatt-hour Tesla batteries. Both the solar panels and the batteries will be connected directly to the PSE&G electric grid. The solar panels are expected to provide enough electricity to power about 100 homes annually and also charge the batteries, which will be used to lessen voltage fluctuations that are inherent to grid connected solar systems due primarily to issues like intermittent cloud cover. The learnings from the Highland Park Solar Storage System will ultimately enable better integration of renewable energy onto the electric grid, which will allow for even more solar energy projects in New Jersey and better grid reliability.

“The Highland Park project showcases all the best parts of our Solar 4 All program,” said Karen Reif – vice president, renewables and energy solutions, PSE&G. “We are reclaiming two acres of landfill space while also providing clean, carbon-free electricity directly to our customers. The energy storage piece of this project will also provide valuable insight and learning as to how we can utilize batteries to better integrate renewable energy into the grid.” 

The Highland Park Solar Storage System is part of a 3 megawatt-dc carve-out in the Solar 4 All program dedicated to developing projects that integrate solar with other technologies to reduce the impact solar has on the grid or increase reliability and grid resiliency for critical facilities during prolonged power outages. 

The four other PSE&G solar storage projects in service in New Jersey are located at Hopewell Valley Central High School; at Cooper University Hospital in Camden; at the Caldwell Wastewater Treatment Facility; and at the Pennington Department of Public Works building. 

The Hopewell project allows the high school to serve as a warming or cooling station for the public during an extended power outage, while the Cooper University Hospital system provides backup power for refrigeration needed for vital pediatric medications. The project in West Caldwell provides critical backup power to the wastewater treatment plant to keep waste from making its way into local waterways and the Pennington system keeps the DPW building running in case of a prolonged power outage.

Solar 4 All is a 158 megawatt-dc solar program that utilizes rooftops, parking lots, utility poles and landfills/ brownfields for large-scale, grid connected solar projects. Solar 4 All currently has 33 projects that generate 137 megawatts-dc of solar power in service, not including the Highland Park project.  

As part of its recent Clean Energy Future filing, PSE&G proposed to spend $180 million that includes approximately $109 million of investments and $71 million in other program costs to build an additional 35 megawatts or energy storage. The energy storage will, among other things, enable better integration of renewable energy onto the electric grid, provide resiliency for critical infrastructure and enable electric lines to handle greater capacity during times of peak electric use. PSE&G’s energy storage proposal would also jumpstart New Jersey’s efforts to achieve its energy storage targets of 600 megawatts of energy storage by 2021 and 2,000 megawatts by 2030.

Photo courtesy of Green Energy Futures, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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