Back to News

November 1, 2019 Huen Electric’s Work on Cinnaminson Landfill Solar Farm Earns a Spot on ENR New York’s Best Projects List

The team combined ingenuity, communication, and detailed planning to turn a superfund site into an immense clean energy generation site

Engineering News Record (ENR) New York’s Best Projects of 2019 named Huen Electric’s work on the Cinnaminson Solar Project a top project of the year. With a combination of ingenuity and sustainability, the MYR Group subsidiary helped repurpose a former landfill superfund site in Burlington County, New Jersey into a 25-acre solar farm. The clean energy generation site comprises over 32,000 solar panels and produces enough energy to power 3,500 homes or more. Despite uncertainty in the design phase, complex permitting, and environmental and maintenance challenges around the landfill space, Huen Electric’s adaptability and ingenuity helped make the project a success.

Using ingenuity to stay on schedule

Operating on and around a landfill requires extra caution to avoid releasing toxins into the area around it. To handle this complexity, Huen Electric devised a process to install conduit through the sides of the above-grade cast-in-place concrete pads for the transformer station to avoid disturbing the landfill below.

By opting to treat the entire project area as part of the landfill, Huen Electric adhered to stringent protective measures and excavation restrictions. This ultimately prevented the release of contaminated materials while effectively saving time on the project that would have otherwise consisted of six to eight months of testing.

Weather also provided an obstacle that Huen Electric overcame, even expediting their schedule during the colder months. “Winter construction in New Jersey is always a challenge, and when steeper areas of the project became a safety hazard, we were able to mobilize entire crews to flatter sections and stay productive,” said Eric Bechtold, a Huen Electric district manager, “It required us to triage tasks to maintain the overall schedule and keep manpower productive.”

Overcoming environmental obstacles

In addition to the challenges presented by winter weather, Huen Electric faced topographic and environmental challenges that required detailed coordination to handle successfully. Cable trays were installed on steep grades of the landfill, requiring custom ballast solutions to anchor the raceways. All distribution pads were constructed on grade with cast-in-place conduit entries. To accomplish this, Huen Electric worked closely with the project’s general contractor to handle the various stages of significant grading activities throughout the site.

“Due to the superfund status of the site and the considerations to protect the cap and monitoring wells, construction needed to be carried out in a specific order to prevent repeat equipment traffic from damaging the cap,” Bechtold said. “In addition, all distribution equipment pads, and grounding had to be installed on-grade, requiring field coordination for exact raceway entries and placement.”

As is the case with superfund sites, work is completed under strict oversight, permitting, and testing requirements from local, state, and federal environmental authorities. This, coupled with difficult terrain and an ever-changing workflow, demanded hourly attention from field personnel through Huen Electric’s management.

Amidst these demands, Huen Electric’s ability to form strong working relationships with the engineer, client, and other authorities with jurisdiction ensured all work was not only completed on time, but complied with code and met the satisfaction of all parties.

Several solar panels with green grass below them.