A community solar array could be in the future of Somerville, NJ, if a resolution passes through the Borough Council. The vote will determine which energy firm will be awarded the prospect of building a new development in Somerville’s former landfill near Main Street. According to the Director of Economic Development for the borough, Colin Driver, several proposals have been submitted by different companies, all looking to install a farm to benefit the 2.5-square-mile borough.
The new community solar array is expected to stretch across 20 acres of property within the landfill. However, that will depend explicitly on what the Borough Council determines. Currently, the parcel being eyed is near Somerville’s “Green Seam” park that runs along Route 206. Additionally, a transit development near the Raritan Valley NJTRANSIT line.
This community solar development would join previously approved projects, including the 2019 pilot program approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. As part of the program, a series of rules were created to regulate community solar and allow businesses and residents to benefit from locally generated solar power.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed the pilot program into law as a means to expand the reach of solar. Through community solar, customers are able to participate in renewable energy. Those that subscribe to these solar programs also receive credits on their monthly utility bills. According to Driver, residents aren’t the only ones to benefit. The borough will lease the land out to the energy developer, who will pay to be able to house the community solar array.
Though residents’ initial concerns typically involve the unsightliness of solar arrays, Drive confirms that the installation won’t be visible from the “Green Seam.” The arrays will be low profile and will only stand upwards of 5-feet off the ground.
The landfill is being considered specifically for its size and the money that the borough can bring in through the leasing program.