By: Jessica Perry
The largest solar project in North America is located on a former landfill in Mount Olive. It was completed last fall, and last month, Jersey Central Power & Light recently announced, it began supplying power.
With its grid connection complete, the FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiary said the 19.8-megawatt installation is now delivering energy through its parent company’s transmission lines. The work to make that connection has been underway for the past year.
“FirstEnergy and JCP&L are committed to supporting the global energy transition to renewable resources, and we are pleased to have worked with CEP Renewables to connect this innovative solar project to the grid and enable the delivery of clean energy to local communities,” Jim Fakult, president of New Jersey operations for FirstEnergy, said in the Feb. 15 announcement.
Together, the partners constructed a grid connection point with an existing 34.5-kilovolt transmission line in addition to making associated line and system upgrades to support the project.
The land at the Mount Olive site is owned by Red Bank-based CEP Renewables and is being leased to NJR Clean Energy Ventures, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources Corp., which will own and operate the facility long term.
According to JCP&L, CEP Renewables currently has 16 landfill or brownfield solar projects under development, with more than 100 megawatts of solar projects in the state, which support the state’s Energy Master Plan. In December, the company began work on a new community solar project in Southampton.
Expanding upon its clean energy efforts, in the fall, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities awarded JCP&L construction responsibility to connect New Jersey’s offshore wind farms to the power grid.
FirstEnergy’s ongoing, multiyear “Energizing the Future” initiative has upgraded and replaced existing power lines, incorporated smart technology into the grid and upgraded dozens of substations with new equipment and security features, the company said. Throughout 2022, First Energy said it invested more than $10 billion in the effort.