New Jersey reaches solar milestone

On October 1, 2010, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) announced that New Jersey has reached 200 MW of solar capacity with more than 6,800 projects statewide. The state is number two in the nation in terms of grid-connected solar photovoltaic (“PV”) installed capacity.  Eight years ago, the state had only six solar installations.

Since that time New Jersey has established a model program for solar development, which includes: a strong Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) with a solar electric set aside; excellent interconnection and net metering standards that have made it easier for systems to connect to the distribution system; and a Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) financing model that provides energy credits and additional long term financing for those who invest in solar.

“This milestone establishes New Jersey’s position as one of the fastest growing solar energy markets in the country,” said NJBPU President Lee A. Solomon.  “Our success is due in large part to the subsidies provided by the state which are advancing the state’s efforts to come into balance with its RPS goals, possibly as early as 2012.”

New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program™ first introduced the SREC Registration Program in February 2009.  Since then, the program has surpassed the installed solar capacity that the Customer On-Site Renewable Energy (CORE) Rebate Program delivered over a nine year period by 4.51 MW.  This continued growth in the SREC market is closing the gap between the solar RPS goal and the registered solar capacity that is eligible to generate SRECs.

New Jersey is the first government globally to adopt the use of SRECs to help finance solar projects on a broad scale.   Representing all the clean energy benefits of electricity generated from a solar electric system, one SREC is issued for each 1,000 kWh (1MWh) generated.  SRECs are then sold or traded, separately from the power, providing solar system owners a source of revenue to help offset the cost of installation.  SRECs are increasingly replacing rebates, which fueled solar growth in the early years of the state’s solar program.

Following New Jersey’s lead, the market-based SREC model has been adopted in other states, including Pennsylvania, Delaware, Massachusetts, Ohio and Maryland, as well as the District of Columbia.

Electricity suppliers, the primary purchasers of SRECs, are required to pay a Solar Alternative Compliance Payment (SACP) if they do not meet the requirements of New Jersey’s solar RPS.  Suppliers can meet their RPS requirements by purchasing SRECs.  As SRECs are traded in a competitive market, the price may vary significantly.  The actual price of an SREC during a trading period can and will fluctuate depending on supply and demand.

Source: New Jersey Today article


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