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Published on November 9th, 2012 | by Adam Johnston

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Solar Provides NJ, Pennsylvania Residents Bang For Their Buck (More Than 2:1 Return): Report



 
A new report released by Clean Power Research for the Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association (MSEIA) and the Pennsylvania Solar Energy Industries Association (PASEIA) suggests solar energy gives customers quite a deal.

The Clean Power Research report notes that solar electricity provides a premium value of $150 to $200 per MWh (or 15 cents to 20 cents per kWh) above the actual value of the solar electricity generated, and a levelized value of $256 to $318 per MWh (25.6 cents to 31.8 cents per kWh). When compared to the real cost of the Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC) — which range in cost between $60/MWh (6 cents/kWh) in New Jersey and $20/MWh (2 cents/kWh) in Pennsylvania — the value far exceeds the cost of the SREC’s.

“This indicates that electric ratepayers in the region are getting more than a two-to-one return on their investment in solar energy,” said MSEIA President Dennis Wilson, President of MSEIA, in a release.

“Although the current SREC prices are unsustainably low, our analysis indicates that SRECs can increase in price, deliver net benefits and still support strong solar growth. Solar power has proven it can deliver value that exceeds its cost by 50% to over 100%.  This net positive benefit will only increase as solar technology continues to drop in cost,” he said.

With both states ranking in the top ten in installed US solar capacity (New Jersey second and Pennsylvania eighth), one will hope to see solar energy continue its upward movement, given its economic and environmental benefits as prices continue to fall.
 

 
However, some officials acknowledge the solar PV market faces some challenges against larger utilities.

“Solar PV does not get a fair shake in our current utility accounting protocols because those rules evolved for centralized, large-scale power plants,” says manager of the Reinvestment Fund’s Sustainable Development Fund, Roger Clark, who helped fund the study.

“We supported this study because it is critical to understand the costs and benefits of solar so that our energy policies, such as Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act, are grounded on an accurate perception of the value of solar energy,” he said.

Despite the challenges by utilities, reports like the one released by Clean Power Research give strong support that solar can be a force for good (in environmental and economic ways) and give a big bang for the investment buck.

Source: PR Newswire

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About the Author

A University of Winnipeg graduate who received a three year B.A. with a combined major in Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications. Currently attempting to be a freelance social media coordinator. My eventual goal is to be a clean tech policy analyst down the road while I sharpen my skills as a renewable energy writer. Currently working on a book on clean tech and how to relate it to a broader audience. You can follow me on Twitter @adamjohnstonwpg or at www.adammjohnston.wordpress.com



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