(L to R) Matt Antonacci, John Maulucci and Frank M. Antonacci of USA Hauling and Recycling; Katie Dykes of DEEP; Mark Riley from Clean Energy; Timothy Schneider and Samuel Schneider of Earthlight Solar

Clean Energy Fuels Corp., USA Hauling and Recycling, and Earthlight Solar recently completed a solar-powered compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling station in East Windsor, Conn.

The station, which uses solar to power the equipment that fuels natural gas trucks, has nearly 1,700 rooftop solar panels, installed by Earthlight Solar. The 742.6 kW solar project is expected to produce renewable energy for the next 40 years and avoid carbon emissions equal to nearly 610,000 pounds of coal burned for fuel.

The public-access USA Hauling and Recycling station, located at 3-5 Shoham Rd., serves more than 100 local CNG refuse trucks, according to Clean Energy.

“Natural gas as a transportation fuel is the best solution to deliver emission reductions associated with diesel fuel from our highways, roads and communities,” says Andrew J. Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy. “We applaud our partner USA Hauling and Recycling for its commitment to this project and for taking the lead to expand the use of natural gas in the region.”

State Sen. Saud Anwar, D-South Windsor, recently joined Frank Antonacci, president of USA Hauling and Recycling, and Katie Dykes, commissioner at Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, along with other project partners, for the grand opening of the station.

“USA Hauling provides waste hauling and recycling across most parts of our state, and we can take pride in the face that this organization’s trucks are far more energy-efficient with a lower carbon footprint and impact on our environment,” said Anwar. “I hope this project will be looked at as a model for others to follow in the country to continue to reduce our carbon footprint nationwide.”

“USA Hauling and Recycling is proving out such an important model for businesses in the state of Connecticut,” said Dykes. “We know at the department that this project sits at the intersection of our highest environmental and climate priorities, from waste management to renewable energy deployment and greening transportation. It presents a model we hope many others follow.”

“Like most solutions, simple solutions are the best,” said Antonacci. “In our industry, with mostly diesel-powered vehicles, we saw an opportunity to do things better. Seven years ago, we committed as a company and a family to create the cleanest waste recycling fleet in the country. Ultimately, after much research, we decided to move to a fleet powered by natural gas. Part of our commitment came with the necessity of creating an infrastructure for natural gas-powered vehicles.”

Antonacci noted that the station will provide capacity for USA Hauling and Recycling to grow its fleet by an additional 50 CNG vehicles.

“While we were developing these stations, we found the compressors require an enormous amount of energy,” he added. “We saw that as an opportunity, too. We decided to take it a step further and install solar panels to offset the energy use. This is a one-of-a-kind installation. We can proudly say this is the cleanest waste and recycling fleet in the entire country.”

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