Source: New Jersey Star Ledger
May 9, 2010
By Abby Gruen
For almost a decade, New Jersey has had one of the most aggressive state initiatives to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Four years ago, the Board of Public Utilities developed a solar renewable-energy certificate program to create a marketplace for solar energy producers to trade credits with utilities, which are required by law to meet certain targets of renewable energy production each year. Currently, these certificates, each of which represents one megawatt hour of clean energy production, are trading at over $670.
Commercial installations account for 57 percent of the program, or 84.32-megawatts. Residential installations make up 22 percent, and municipalities and schools make up the rest.
Contributing to the sudden uptick in larger commercial solar installations this year is a change in federal incentives. Recognizing that capital investment in clean energy had stalled during the recession, Congress last year included a provision in the federal stimulus bill, called Section 1603, that turned a 30 percent tax incentive for solar projects into a cash rebate. The effect in New Jersey was immediate.
The number of commercial solar installations tripled over the previous year to more than 270 and are on track to double again this year. The size of individual projects also has doubled in the past two years.
“Rooftop installations in New Jersey last year saw way more growth than the rest of the country,” said Larry Sherwood, a solar energy analyst with the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc., a national nonprofit.
Read the full article: Installation of solar panels on rooftops a boon for New Jersey businesses