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In Southampton, New Jersey a 10 megawatt (MW) community solar landfill project is being developed by CEP Renewables and CS Energy. Ofcourse, clean energy is great anywhere but on land that can’t be used for much else it’s especially appreciated. The solar farm is actually made up of two 5 MW solar systems and are part of two utility districts. This project can produce enough electricity for 2000 homes.
“We are excited to be able to build upon the success of our redevelopment project in Mount Olive, New Jersey — the largest solar landfill project in North America — by utilizing a similar process with this project,” said Chris Ichter, Executive Vice President at CEP Renewables - the company have done similar things in the past.
In this project, the community part makes it more interesting. A press release from the developers state that “beyond converting previously unusable land to a clean energy generating asset, the project will also serve low-to-moderate income (LMI) residents and will enable the Township to recoup 40 years of back taxes and interest.”
According to CleanTechnica, CEP Renewable purchasing the landfill site and turning it into a solar farm is unique. This particular site had been abandoned for a very long time and it was gaining millions of dollars in tax liens. The Township of Southampton agreed to CEP Renewable buying all those tax liens, paying them off and then foreclosing the landfill and began to build the solar farm. The Township of Southampton got almost 40 years of back taxes and interest on those back taxes paid off during this process.
A good news is that more and more former landfills are being sought after to be used for solar power. CEP Renewables and CS Energy writes:
“There are over 10,000 closed landfills in the United States, and it has been determined that closed landfills could host more than 60 GW of solar capacity — enough to power 7.8 million homes or the state of South Carolina. There has also been an 80 percent increase in solar landfill projects over the past 5 years, due in large part to the landfill expertise that has been developed by companies such as CEP. This BEMS project represents just one of 16 landfill or brownfield projects that CEP currently has under development.”