Solar 4 All® Program Returns Highland Park Landfill to Productive Use

By Fran Sullivan
Nov 8, 2019 11:30 AM ET

For decades, a plot of land along Donaldson Street in Highland Park served as a municipal landfill for unwanted household appliances, miscellaneous waste, and construction and demolition debris that reflected the rise of Middlesex County as one of New Jersey’s rising job centers.

But today, thanks to PSE&G’s Solar 4 All program, the site is returning to productive use with the construction of a 2-acre, 605-kilowatt-dc solar farm and battery storage system.

The Highland Park Solar Storage System will combine 1,764 solar panels with 2,000-kilowatt-hour Tesla batteries and connect 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 reduce voltage fluctuations that are inherent to grid-connected solar systems due primarily to issues related to intermittent cloud cover.

“The Highland Park project showcases all the best parts of our Solar 4 All program,” said Karen Reif, PSE&G’s vice president for renewables and energy solutions. “We are reclaiming 2 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.”

When the Highland Park project is completed later this year, it will be the fifth Solar 4 All solar storage system that PSE&G has built. The others 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.

Solar 4 All is a 158-megawatt-dc solar program that utilizes rooftops, parking lots, utility poles and landfills/ brownfields for largescale, grid-connected solar projects. Excluding the Highland Park project, Solar 4 All currently has 33 projects that generate 137 megawattsdc of solar power in service.

As part of its recent Clean Energy Future filing, PSE&G has proposed to build an additional 35 megawatts of energy storage that 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 also would 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.