Every year the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) New Jersey Section recognizes and celebrates outstanding individuals and projects that have made significant contributions to the civil engineering industry in the state of New Jersey within the past calendar year. This year’s 2023 Project of the Year winner has been awarded to the GEMS Landfill PV Solar Plant. The partners involved in this project were project owner, Syncarpha Capital and Pacolet Milliken, LLC; project racking solution, Terrasmart; and project EPC contractor, CS Energy.
The Gloucester Environmental Management Services (GEMS) landfill covers 60 acres in Gloucester Township, Camden County, N.J. The PV Solar Facility covers 19 acres at the GEMS landfill site with a total DC capacity of 4,499 kWp and a 3 MW AC output. There is a “cap” on the top areas of the landfill, the cap is 5 feet thick in total, it consists of 2 feet of clay, a 40-mil HDPE liner, overlayed by a 12″ drainage layer, 18″ of soil cover and 6″ of vegetated topsoil. The landfill cap must remain undisturbed. All construction methods were designed to be non-intrusive to the soil cover and to be protective of the existing remedy.
The PV Solar Facility incorporates 11430 PV Solar Panels having three different output capacities: 8,658 Jinko Solar JKM400M-72HL-V 400W, 2,214 JA Solar JAM72S01 375W and 558 JA Solar JAM72S01 370W modules.
After years of planning and permitting, construction began in December, 2021 and was completed in April, 2022. In addition to generating renewable energy, the long-planned project will contribute to Gloucester Township’s efforts to become more sustainable.
“We’re extremely honored to win this award; it’s been a long process to bring this project online and became even more challenging during the height of the Covid-19 supply-chain struggles,” said Graeme Dutkowsky, vice president of construction at Syncarpha Capital. “This project wouldn’t have been a success without the hard work, dedication and cooperation of all our partners and stakeholders.”
Annually, the solar park is expected to produce nearly 6.1 million kWh of “clean zero emissions power,” enough to offset 4,313 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Over the course of 25 years, the facility will yield approximately $1 million in lease revenue to Gloucester Township. In October 2022 the GEMS Solar Park helped Gloucester Township achieve its goal of earning a Sustainable Jersey bronze certification from Sustainable Jersey, a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainability among New Jersey communities.
GEMS Landfill PV Solar Plant was a multi-disciplinary project. Wood Engineering provided the permits and civil design for the project. Structural drawings and calculations, as well as the design of the dual post racking material with 1,366 pre-cast ballast blocks, were provided by Terrasmart. Pure Power Engineering Inc., provided electrical design services for the project. CS Energy was the EPC contractor. The solar array is currently connected to the distribution grid operated by the Atlantic City Electric Co.
“Congratulations to all that successfully collaborated to build an award-winning renewable energy ecosystem on top of a hazardous site that will now positively impact the community,” said Ed McKiernan, president of Terrasmart. “Leveraging our experience on other large-scale landfill solar projects, Terrasmart was able to design and engineer our GLIDE ballasted mounting solution for the GEMS Landfill Solar Plant, all while protecting the sensitive landfill cap. Our long-time partnership with CS Energy and Syncarpha Capital aided in the highest level of quality to deliver a clean energy solution for Gloucester Township over the next few decades.”
“We’re very proud to be part of the team to receive this prestigious award for the GEMS project, which successfully converted a previously unusable site into a clean energy generating asset for the community,” said Kevin Magayah, executive vice president of business development at CS Energy. “The expertise of our exceptional partners combined with our experience completing over 215 MW of landfill solar projects enabled this challenging project to be executed efficiently and cost effectively in under four months. As a result, the project will provide significant environmental and financial benefits for this community long term while also supporting the state’s renewable energy goals.”
Syncarpha Capital, a full-service solar developer, owner and operator of commercial and utility scale photovoltaic (PV) solar energy systems and Pacolet Milliken LLC, a family-owned investment company with a substantial and diverse portfolio of sustainable assets are the owners of this project. The project cost $8.5 million to design and construct.