New Jersey (NJ) had the most new solar power installed of any state in the US in the first quarter of 2012. It’s the #2 state in the US for total cumulative solar power capacity. Shocking for those who don’t follow the industry, I’m sure, but it’s in that position for a reason — it has generally had very strong solar policies support solar power installation and countless jobs.
Now, the policies supporting solar were recently on the verge of falling out the bottom, and new solar along with it, but the latest news is that NJ policymakers have saved the job-creating clean energy industry.
“New Jersey’s General Assembly approved the substitution for S-1925 (A-2966), and the Senate just approved the amendments,” Eric Wesoff of Greentech Media writes. “This piece of solar legislation, which has been referred to as the ‘resurrection bill’ for solar in New Jersey, could sustain solar project development and job growth at a healthy rate in the Garden State.”
How NJ Solar Has Boomed
More on how the NJ solar market has become so strong:
“More than many other major markets, New Jersey’s solar status is influenced by political will and extensive renewable energy policy rather than abundant solar resources. The solar renewable energy credit (SREC) market in the state drives a significant amount of capacity installation — credits are created through a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) which requires that a certain amount of energy generated in the state comes from solar. The price of SRECs is determined by the supply of solar generation and the demand to meet New Jersey’s RPS requirements.”
And why it was under threat:
“SREC pricing has dropped precipitously in the last year.”
How the New Legislation Would Help
The legislation would accelerate the state’s solar electricity mandate, or Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), solving that problem to a degree.
“This bill will go a long way toward shoring up the New Jersey market beginning in Energy Year 2014,” Shayle Kann, VP of GTM Research, said. “That said, it will not save the market from the increasingly drastic oversupply in the near term. We continue to expect a slowdown in installations in the second half of 2012, but this legislation means we could begin to see a resumption of growth in late 2013.”
“The bill could double the megawatts of solar installed in New Jersey in the next few years,” Wesoff writes.
“Solar advocates argue the bill will eventually save consumers up to $1 billion because the measure dramatically scales back payments made by power suppliers if they cannot buy solar credits needed to comply with the state’s solar mandates,” NJ Spotlight writes.
Image Credit: NJ solar panel field courtesy Shutterstock