Surrounded by solar industry and advocates, N.J. Governor Phil Murphy signed a historic bill that will stabilize the solar market through 2021 by (deep breath)
- increasing the solar target,
- losing the current solar renewable energy credit trading program in an orderly way,
- reducing the overall cost of the current solar Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by lowering the Solar Alternative Compliance Payment, and
- setting in motion a process for establishing the next generation of solar programs in the Garden State.
The bill also increases the overall RPS to 50 percent by 2030 and creates a community solar program. The Garden State will become the 18th state to enable community solar, which if properly implemented by the Board of Public Utilities will ensure that all New Jerseyans have access to solar energy. The community solar program will give consideration to residential customers, especially in multifamily buildings, and low-to-moderate income customers.
Following are statements from solar advocates and industry representatives:
“It has never been more important for leaders to stand up for clean energy jobs, local investments, and clean air and climate progress in our communities. We are encouraged that in the face of rollbacks in Washington, Governor Murphy is stepping up with bold action,” said Pari Kasotia, Mid-Atlantic Director for Vote Solar. “Americans across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support solar progress. We urge lawmakers to look to New Jersey’s leadership to spur the clean energy economy.”
“The solar industry appreciates Gov. Murphy’s leadership,” said Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs. “By signing this bill into law, many more New Jersey residents, businesses and communities will have access to solar energy. This is a huge win for customers, will support the thousands of solar jobs in the Garden State, and puts the state on track to meeting its ambitious clean energy goals.”
“The New Jersey legislature and Governor Murphy should be applauded for passing community solar legislation and recognizing the increased consumer demand for solar energy. If properly implemented, this legislation will create access to solar energy for consumers and businesses across New Jersey for the first time,” said Brandon Smithwood, policy director for the Coalition for Community Solar Access. “We look forward to working with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to create a robust program that enables hundreds of thousands of consumers across the state to choose community solar and save money on their electric bills.”
“Thanks to this important legislation, New Jersey residents who rent, live in apartments, or can’t afford the upfront cost to install solar panels will now be better able to get their power from the sun,” said Luis Torres, senior legislative representative for Earthjustice. “We look forward to working with our coalition partners to ensure that the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities heeds the call of this law by promoting robust participation from low and moderate income customers in community solar projects.”
“Today Governor Murphy is empowering New Jersey residents to create, store, and share clean solar power with their neighbors, making the electric grid stronger and more resilient,” said Anne Hoskins, chief policy officer for Sunrun. “With the Governor’s leadership, New Jersey will be better prepared for future storms, grow good-quality energy jobs for the state, and build a more consumer-centered energy system with home-grown, affordable power that will benefit everyone.”
— Solar Builder magazine