Photo by Tony Webster, Creative Commons.
Solar panels at William O'Brien State Park near Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota.

PSE&G Puts Highland Park Solar Storage System Into Service

March 10, 2020
PSE&G’s Highland Park Solar Storage System combines solar panels and batteries to convert 2 acres of dormant space on Donaldson Street to productive use.

Public Service Electric and Gas Co. and the Borough of Highland Park, New Jersey, placed a solar energy storage system into service. The project was built on the borough’s former municipal landfill.

PSE&G’s Highland Park Solar Storage System combines solar panels and batteries to convert 2 acres of dormant space on Donaldson Street to productive use. The project also incorporates streetscaping to enhance the neighborhood.

The Highland Park Solar Storage System is the 35th overall project and the fifth solar storage system that PSE&G has built as part of its Solar 4 All program.

“Highland Park has a long history of environmental leadership,” Highland Park Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler said. “We are proud of the fact that we were New Jersey’s first Green Community and happy to extend that commitment to sustainability by increasing the amount of renewable energy in the borough while also turning our former landfill green with solar power.”

The Highland Park Solar Storage System combines a 1,764-panel, 605-kW-dc solar farm with 2,000-kW-hour Tesla batteries. Both the solar panels and batteries are connected directly to the PSE&G electric grid. The solar panels are expected to provide enough electricity to power about 100 homes annually and charge the batteries, which are used to reduce voltage fluctuations inherent to grid-connected solar systems, due primarily to issues like intermittent cloud cover.

“This project does much more than just provide clean solar energy to our customers and reclaim 2 acres of landfill space,” said Karen Reif, PSE&G’s vice president for Renewables and Energy Solutions. “The information we gather from the Highland Park Solar Storage System also will enable better integration of renewable energy onto the electric grid in the future, allowing for even more solar energy projects in New Jersey.”

The Highland Park project is located directly across from a residential multifamily housing complex and is adjacent to a public park and walking trails in a wooded area along the Raritan River. PSE&G also installed a decorative iron fence for security and planted 91 new trees and a mix of perennial plants and shrubs to improve the curb appeal of the project and the neighborhood.

PSE&G hired Advanced Solar Products, a leader in solar energy and related sustainable technologies, to act as turnkey engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the Highland Park Solar Storage System.

“We are proud to work with the Borough of Highland Park and PSE&G on this exciting, leading-edge project,” said Lyle Rawlings, ASP’s president and CEO. “More and more solar-plus-storage systems will be built in the coming years as we develop the power grid of the future. Designing and constructing projects like the Highland Park Solar Storage System will enable ASP and others to gain the expertise necessary to build future systems in a cost-effective and technically efficient manner.”

The Highland Park Solar Storage System is part of a 3-MW-dc carve-out in the Solar 4 All program, dedicated to developing projects that integrate solar with other technologies to reduce the impact of solar on the grid or to increase reliability and grid resiliency for critical facilities during prolonged power outages.

The four other PSE&G solar storage projects in service in New Jersey are located at Hopewell Valley Central High School; Cooper University Hospital in Camden; the Caldwell Wastewater Treatment Facility; and the Pennington Department of Public Works building.                                    

The Hopewell Valley project allows the high school to serve as a public warming or cooling station during an extended power outage, while the Cooper University Hospital system provides backup power for refrigeration needed for vital pediatric medications. The project in West Caldwell provides critical backup power to the wastewater treatment plant to keep waste from making its way into local waterways, while the Pennington system keeps the DPW building running in case of a prolonged power outage.

The Solar 4 All program uses rooftops, parking lots, utility poles and landfills/ brownfields for large-scale, grid-connected solar projects. The 35 Solar 4 All projects provide just over 153-MW-dc of solar power, including the Highland Park project.                                   

As part of its Clean Energy Future filing, PSE&G proposed investment of $109 million to build an additional 35 MW of energy storage. The energy storage 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 jump-start New Jersey’s efforts to achieve its energy storage target of 600 MW by 2021 and 2,000 MW by 2030.

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