Blockbuster New Jersey solar bill raises RPS to 50 percent by 2030, enables community solar

New Jersey solar bill

And this time, they mean it

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.

RELATED: Attack the Tariff launches in June to highlight solar industry ideas, innovations

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

New Jersey reworks bills to raise RPS for solar, add community solar

New Jersey Senate

State and national solar energy advocates are throwing their support behind two bills in New Jersey, A3723 and S2314, that are meant to stabilize and expand New Jersey’s renewable economy. Assemblyman John McKeon’s bill and its companion in the Senate, S2314 from Senator Bob Smith, consider the renewable energy provisions that were previously included in S877, an earlier comprehensive energy package that was thankfully split to consider nuclear and clean energy components independent of each other.

The legislation will:

  • Increase the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) target for solar,
  • Close the current solar renewable energy credit trading program in an orderly way,
  • Reduce the overall cost of the current solar RPS by lowering the Solar Alternative Compliance Payment, and
  • Set in motion a process for considering the next generation of solar incentives in the Garden State.

This legislation will also enable a community solar program, which will ensure that 100 percent of 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.

The supporting organizations include [deep breath]: The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), KDC Solar, the Mid Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association (MSEIA), New Jersey Solar Grid Supply Association, the New Jersey Solar Energy Coalition (NJSEC), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Earthjustice, and Vote Solar.

“This bill is a significant improvement and as an industry we welcome the short-term fix to New Jersey’s RPS and the authorization of community solar projects,” said Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs for SEIA. “New Jersey’s solar industry is facing a crisis and the loss of thousands of jobs. Legislative action is needed to save this vital part of the state’s economy, especially as the federal government imposes misguided tariffs on solar cells and panels. We urge state lawmakers to pass A3723/S2314 and Governor Murphy to sign it without delay.”

“New Jersey has historically been one of the leading solar markets in the country. However, with over a third of households renting their homes, nearly half of homes being multifamily, and numerous small businesses, non-profits and other organizations lacking adequate roofs for solar systems, the vast majority of New Jersey-ans have not yet been able to realize the benefits of solar energy,” said Brandon Smithwood, policy director for CCSA. “Passing A3723/S2314 would establish a community solar program and lay the foundation for the community solar industry to invest, create new jobs, and serve the millions of New Jersey residents across the state who have been waiting for their chance to choose solar.”

— Solar Builder magazine

New Jersey reworks bills to raise RPS for solar, add community solar

New Jersey Senate

State and national solar energy advocates are throwing their support behind two bills in New Jersey, A3723 and S2314, that are meant to stabilize and expand New Jersey’s renewable economy. Assemblyman John McKeon’s bill and its companion in the Senate, S2314 from Senator Bob Smith, consider the renewable energy provisions that were previously included in S877, an earlier comprehensive energy package that was thankfully split to consider nuclear and clean energy components independent of each other.

The legislation will:

  • Increase the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) target for solar,
  • Close the current solar renewable energy credit trading program in an orderly way,
  • Reduce the overall cost of the current solar RPS by lowering the Solar Alternative Compliance Payment, and
  • Set in motion a process for considering the next generation of solar incentives in the Garden State.

This legislation will also enable a community solar program, which will ensure that 100 percent of 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.

The supporting organizations include [deep breath]: The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), KDC Solar, the Mid Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association (MSEIA), New Jersey Solar Grid Supply Association, the New Jersey Solar Energy Coalition (NJSEC), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Earthjustice, and Vote Solar.

“This bill is a significant improvement and as an industry we welcome the short-term fix to New Jersey’s RPS and the authorization of community solar projects,” said Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs for SEIA. “New Jersey’s solar industry is facing a crisis and the loss of thousands of jobs. Legislative action is needed to save this vital part of the state’s economy, especially as the federal government imposes misguided tariffs on solar cells and panels. We urge state lawmakers to pass A3723/S2314 and Governor Murphy to sign it without delay.”

“New Jersey has historically been one of the leading solar markets in the country. However, with over a third of households renting their homes, nearly half of homes being multifamily, and numerous small businesses, non-profits and other organizations lacking adequate roofs for solar systems, the vast majority of New Jersey-ans have not yet been able to realize the benefits of solar energy,” said Brandon Smithwood, policy director for CCSA. “Passing A3723/S2314 would establish a community solar program and lay the foundation for the community solar industry to invest, create new jobs, and serve the millions of New Jersey residents across the state who have been waiting for their chance to choose solar.”

— Solar Builder magazine

New Jersey bill would raise RPS, solar carve out (and subsidize more nuclear power)

new jersey solar RPS bill

The New Jersey Legislature is nearing passing Senate Bill 877 that would modify the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Solar Renewable Energy Credit obligation to require 5.1 percent of New Jersey’s electricity to come from solar by 2021 (up from 4.1 percent). It also would establish a community solar program that will make solar available to residents who have not had the option before, such as renters, low-income residents, and small businesses. But an awkward thing about this bill is it would also approve subsidies for more nuclear power. This was originally in a separate bill, but is now riding the coattails of this one.

The bill was being examined in a joint hearing held by the state Senate Budget and Appropriations and the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities committees.

Nuclear politics aside, this would still be considered a win for the solar industry.

“The New Jersey legislature has taken the right initial steps to raise the state’s renewable energy goal and create a community solar market,” stated Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs. “While a few key changes were left out of the final bill, including provisions to close out the current Solar Renewable Energy Credit program in an orderly manner, this bill provides both short-term fixes to the RPS and the authorization for community solar that the industry has been seeking. This legislation is particularly important as the federal government imposes misguided tariffs on solar cells and panels.”

With 2,234 megawatts of cumulative solar capacity installed, New Jersey is the 5th largest solar state in the US. The state’s solar industry employs more than 7,100 workers, the 8th most in the nation. It added 1,000 workers between 2016 to 2017.

— Solar Builder magazine

New Jersey extends Solar 4 All program (will invest $80 million in brownfield, landfill projects)

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has approved an extension to PSE&G’s Solar 4 All program. The approval authorizes PSE&G to invest up to $80 million over the next three years to build an additional 33 MWdc of solar farms on landfills and brownfields in PSE&G’s electric service territory.

With this new approval, Solar 4 All is now a 158 MWdc program that utilizes rooftops, parking lots, utility poles and landfills/ brownfields for universal solar projects.

PSEGSolar 4 All details

This is the second extension to Solar 4 All. The BPU originally approved the program in 2009, allowing PSE&G to install 80 MWdc of solar capacity. The first BPU-approved extension was in 2013, allowing PSE&G to build an additional 42 MWdc of solar capacity on landfills, brownfields, and 3 MWdc in solar pilot programs for storm hardening and grid resiliency. Of the 158 MWdc currently approved there are 115 MWdc in service, with an additional 10 MWdc expected to be in service by the end of the year.

PSE&G has invested more than $500 million in the program that benefits PSE&G electric customers by supplying solar power directly to the electric grid in a way that is about 40 percent less expensive than typical residential net-metered solar projects.

By the end of 2016, the Solar 4 All program will have about 53 MWdc of solar capacity built on nine landfill and brownfield sites. These projects fill more than 190 acres of landfill and brownfield space with 175,000 solar panels that can power about 8,500 homes annually. With the latest 33 MWdc approval, Solar 4 All will have 86 megawatts-dc of landfill and brownfield solar in total in service by the end of 2019.

 

— Solar Builder magazine