Red Bank-based CEP Renewables and Luminace announced that they have achieved commercial operation of the 10-megawatt (DC) BEMS community solar landfill project, located on the Big Hill Landfill in Southampton. The project is part of the state’s Community Solar Energy Pilot Program and is the first of its kind in the state due to having two 5 MW solar systems atop a landfill, which span across two utility territories.
This fixed-tilt project utilizes ballasted solar racking technology from Terrasmart as well as bifacial solar panels. In addition to converting a previously limited-use site into a solar power plant, the project has enabled the township to recoup approximately $2 million in back taxes and interest. The majority of the several thousand households powered by this project are low- to moderate income. CEP Renewables developed the project and contracted CS Energy to perform the role as engineering, procurement and construction contractor throughout the construction phase. Luminace, a Brookfield Renewable company, is the long-term owner and operator of the project.
“We are pleased to have converted yet another previously limited-use site into a source of revenue as well as more affordable, clean energy for local communities,” Chris Ichter, executive vice president at CEP Renewables, said. “The BEMS project builds upon the success of our redevelopment project in Mount Olive, New Jersey, the largest solar landfill project in North America, through the use of a similar process with this project.”
The BEMS project real property was also purchased through the redevelopment and tax lien foreclosure process; after being abandoned by its former owner, the Big Hill landfill site accrued millions of dollars in tax liens. CEP addressed this issue by brokering a public-private partnership with the township that involved CEP acquiring the tax liens from the township, paying back all past-due taxes and foreclosing on the landfill property. CEP is now the owner of this site, and the township has been able to recoup roughly 40 years of interest and back taxes.
“We’re grateful to have been selected by CEP, one of the nation’s top leaders in landfill and brownfield solar redevelopment, to provide our expertise on this impactful project,” Erol Ozkirbas, chief operating officer at CS Energy, said. “We were able to leverage our experience designing and constructing over 200 MW of landfill solar projects to address the complexities of this project and complete it safely, on time and on budget.”
“Luminace is pleased to work with CEP Renewables, CS Energy, Southampton Township and the local community on this most recent community solar project in New Jersey,” Brendon Quinlivan, CEO of Luminace, said. “This project continues to expand our New Jersey solar footprint that we’ve built over the last decade and contributes to our growth strategy across the U.S. to expand the Decarbonization-as-a-Service solutions available to our valued customers and communities that we serve.”
In addition to turning a closed waste disposal site into a revenue generating asset, the BEMS project also contributes to New Jersey maintaining its ranking as the No. 1 U.S. state for both installed solar capacity per square mile as well as for the most planned community solar capacity serving LMI households. This project also adds to CEP’s over 100 MW of solar projects developed in the state and further supports the state in achieving its goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035 — the most ambitious clean energy goal in the country.