Landfill to get new garb - solar panels

Posted: January 19, 2014

DEPTFORD A large solar farm will provide a new purpose for a forlorn landfill in Deptford.

The state Board of Public Utilities has granted conditional certification to Public Service Electric & Gas Co. to build its solar array on a 32-acre section of the Kinsley Landfill, which stretches for more than 100 acres.

"We're all for it," Deptford Mayor Ray Medany said this week, noting an inability to develop the site for commercial or residential use.

The farm will be the largest in PSE&G's solar-site portfolio. Power from the utility's solar farms, currently occupying four brownfields and one landfill in the state, totals 10.5 megawatts. The Deptford project alone is expected to generate 8.2 megawatts. A megawatt can power about 160 homes for a year, said Todd Hranicka, PSE&G director of solar energy.

The project was approved late last month by the Board of Public Utilities. Under BPU conditions, the company must assess and preserve environmental controls at the former landfill.

Hranicka said the company hopes to begin installing the system in April. A spokesman said construction could be complete by early spring 2015.

PSE&G worked with a firm to scout about 1,000 brownfields and landfills across the state, Hranicka said. Using 45 criteria such as ground flatness and accessibility to the grid, the firm identified 22 worthy sites. Kinsley was a top contender.

Once used for solid waste from Philadelphia and area municipalities, the landfill, off Delsea Drive in Gloucester County, was shuttered in 1987.

Some residents had fought for its closure, citing odor, litter, and truck traffic.

"It was a big issue for the people that lived around it," said Gary Stuhltrager, a lawyer and former assemblyman who wrote a book on the landfill. "The whole county was riled up."

Dan Edwards, president of Kinsley Landfill, said the new life for the landfill is "a good example of what can be done."

"It's an environmental win," he said.

PSE&G will enter a lease agreement with the landfill's operator.

Calling the landfill a "renewable energy center," Edwards said PSE&G already has systems on the premises to capture methane to produce energy.

856-779-3840 @AJFichera

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