Thousands of contaminated tracts of land labeled brownfields by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may eventually provide the valuable real estate needed for renewable energy projects, and New Jersey is at the forefront of using such sites to bolster its status as a leader in solar energy.

The utility PSE&G is installing 4,000 solar panels on a six-acre site in Hackensack, N.J., that was once the home of a gas plant and then gas storage facilities. For this site and many others, cleaning up the land for traditional development is prohibitively expensive and time-consuming.

“One of the real benefits of siting a solar farm on a brownfield site is that you may not need to do cleanup or extensive cleanup, and the reason is that you can use these techniques where you contain the contamination within the property,” U.S. EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response Mathy Stanislaus tells National Geographic.

The Hackensack Solar Farm will be a 1-megawatt plant, which PSE&G says will be enough power to supply 170 homes in the immediate area. See more about the solar farm and similar projects in the video here: