This month, New Jersey surpassed a milestone of 100,000 installed solar projects, and the state says Gov. Phil Murphy’s “clean energy agenda” will help ensure the industry’s continued success.
According to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU), the success of the market has been achieved largely through a combination of net metering policies, a solar renewable portfolio standard, and a solar renewable energy credit (SREC) market.
“The 100,000 milestone is more than symbolic,” says Joseph Fiordaliso, NJBPU president. “The number showcases not only New Jersey’s past commitment to solar, but also its future.”
In May, Murphy signed a landmark clean energy bill that gives the NJBPU broad authority to transform the solar energy market by moving past the state’s current SREC program to a long-term, sustainable model for the continued development of solar, explains the NJBPU.
New Jersey is slated to close the SREC program upon attaining 5.1% of the kilowatt-hours sold in New Jersey from solar electric power generators connected to the distribution system. The determination of 5.1% will be noted by a board order indicating that the milestone has been met no later than June 1, 2021.
The board is currently evaluating how to modify or replace the SREC program and initially held a series of public stakeholder meetings to get input from industry representatives and the community. The board also held a special meeting earlier this month during which it unanimously approved the selection of a firm to assist in the redesign of the state’s solar program. Board staff, together with the consultant, will continue to work with stakeholders throughout the transition to ensure New Jersey remains a leader in solar energy.
“New Jersey’s solar energy market has been among the biggest drivers toward a clean energy future and away from the state’s dependency on fossil fuels. We are committed to ensuring that that the solar market here can thrive and support our 21st-century energy and environmental goals,” says Murphy.
In addition, the NJBPU is developing a community solar pilot program, which would enable electric utility customers to remotely participate in solar energy projects while receiving a credit on their utility bills proportional to the size of their participation.
“When it comes to our clean energy future, the Murphy administration has captured the hearts and minds of the public and has shown, beyond abstractions, what the future can look like,” adds Fiordaliso.