Public Service Electric and Gas Company recently announced that it has filed a request with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) to extend its successful Solar 4 All program. If approved, the extension will allow PSE&G to invest approximately $275 million to design and construct an additional 100 megawatts-dc (MW-dc) of grid-connected solar capacity on landfills and brownfields in its New Jersey electric service territory by the end of 2021.Approval of the 100MW-dc extension would nearly triple the amount of landfill and brownfield solar that PSE&G will own and operate in New Jersey from 53MW-dc to 153MW-dc. PSE&G expects that the extension would also create approximately 575 direct jobs in New Jersey during construction time.
Solar 4 All is a 125 MW-dc universal solar* program that utilizes rooftops, parking lots, utility poles and landfills/ brownfields for large-scale, grid connected solar projects. The program benefits PSE&G electric customers by connecting solar power directly to the electric grid for all customers to use. In addition to reclaiming and reusing brownfield and landfill sites as viable solar resources, landfill solar projects are also about 40 percent less expensive than typical residential net-metered solar projects, which will further help New Jersey meet its renewable energy goals in a cost effective, efficient manner.
“For the past several years our Solar 4 All program has helped to advance public policy by greatly increasing the amount of solar power in the state, and helping New Jersey reach its aggressive renewable energy goals,” said Ralph LaRossa, president and chief operating officer, PSE&G. “If approved, the extension would build on this success by allowing us to develop additional grid connected, universal solar on dormant landfills and brownfields, which is a key component of New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan.”
The NJBPU initially approved the program in 2009 for 80MW-dc and extended it in 2013 for an additional 45MW-dc of solar capacity. The program currently has 115MW-dc in service through 174,000 pole attached solar units and 28 centralized solar projects, which is enough to power just over 18,000 average-size homes annually. The remaining 10MW-dc of the currently approved 125MW-dc total will be in service by the end of 2016.
“PSE&G’s Solar 4 All projects have been a job engine for New Jersey. PSE&G’s solar investments have not just had an impact on New Jersey’s economy but also a hugely positive impact in the lives of hundreds of New Jersey men and woman working in the clean energy sector,” said Eddie Gant, Business Manager of IBEW Local 351, and, President of State Electrical Construction Division representing over 10,000 electrical workers. “Every Solar 4 All project creates good jobs in a wide range of trades. This is good for the environment and it is putting people in New Jersey to work at the same time.”
Solar 4 All has already utilized 170 acres of landfill and brownfield space by installing more than 150,000 solar panels at eight landfill and brownfield solar farms. By the end of 2016 there will be nine of these solar farms in service that will generate more than 53MW-dc-dc of solar power, which is enough to power about 8,500 homes annually. PSE&G expects to build approximately 10 additional solar farms with the additional 100MW-dc if approved.
“PSE&G is already a national leader in landfill and brownfield solar development,” said Courtney McCormick – vice president, renewables and energy solutions, PSE&G. “We have identified dozens of landfills in our electric service territory that would be prime candidates for solar development, so the approval of the requested Solar 4 All extension would allow us to return even more of these sites to good use by building grid connected solar farms on land that would otherwise have very limited development options.”
*universal solar is a grid-connected solar system that provides solar capacity to the entire grid