Solar Farms and Revitalizing Brownfields

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Solar farms, also known as solar parks or solar fields, are a type of renewable energy facility that harnesses the power of the sun to generate electricity. These facilities typically consist of large arrays of solar panels mounted on the ground or on structures like rooftops, and are becoming an increasingly common sight across the world as countries seek to transition away from fossil fuels and reduce their carbon emissions.

One interesting trend in the development of solar farms is their location on “brownfields” – land that has been previously contaminated by industrial activity, such as old factories, landfills, or gas stations. By redeveloping these sites into solar farms, developers are able to transform abandoned or unusable land into a source of clean energy, while also remedying the environmental damage caused by previous industrial activities. In this way, solar farms on brownfields represent an innovative approach to renewable energy development that not only benefits the planet, but also creates new economic opportunities and revitalizes neglected areas.

Whats Happening In The World?

A solar farm generating 17 MW of power now occupies a site in New Jersey that was previously contaminated by industry and used to house a paper mill complex in Holland according to The fixed-tilt solar array was constructed in two phases and developed by CEP Renewables before being acquired by NJR Clean Energy Ventures (CEV).

CS Energy handled the engineering, procurement, and construction for the project. CEV, a major solar owner/operator in the region, purchased the Holland project from CEP Renewables in 2021, and now boasts a portfolio of 63 commercial solar projects totaling over 430 MW of installed capacity across New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

In the 1990s, the paper mill site became abandoned and fell into a state of ruin. The property owner, a company specializing in decommissioning former industrial sites, sought out CEP Renewables to redevelop the land. Prior to CEP Renewables taking over, the area had already undergone remediation and was deed restricted and covered with an engineering control.

CEP Renewables’ team worked to enhance the existing engineering controls to make them compatible with the solar redevelopment. Despite several challenges, including permitting and constructing a second phase of the project that overlapped with the first, CEP Renewables and CS Energy were able to complete the project. Additionally, the solar farm had to be constructed around a historic farmhouse and powerhouse located on a portion of the property.

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