New Jersey may not seem like a probable place to surpass even California in the production of solar energy, but it has become America’s biggest U.S. solar market by megawatts installed from January through April of this year. New Jersey may just hold on to the lead, too, thanks to a bill approved by the New Jersey State Assembly this week, which passed the state Senate in May. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has announced that he will sign the bill if it makes it to his desk.
The legislation in question addresses a situation which has threatened many jobs in the state. Solar installation growth, which has been phenomenal in New Jersey, has threatened to stall any new development because the value of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) which utilities purchase went from over $500 each to $100. The bill increases from less than half of 1 percent to 2.05% the amount of solar power that utility companies are required to either produce or purchase.
The new legislation would, in other words, up the value of the SRECs; and the SRECs would again attract new investments in solar power.
Expansion of the solar industry and other clean energy sources is a long-term goal that has been set for New Jersey. Under current standards, by mid-2021, the percentage of power supplied by renewable energy sources will be 20.4; and 2,518 gigawatt-hours of that must be solar power. Beginning in 2014, utility companies will be penalized at $339 per megawatt-hour that they are short of the added governmental requirement, a penalty amount which is set to decline each year to the amount of $239 per megawatt-hour in 2028.
Besides the addition of solar panels by many homeowners, numerous major projects have added to the explosion of solar sources in New Jersey, including The Gloucester Marine Terminal, The Outlet Collection/Jersey Gardens, and IKEA stores.
The Gloucester Marine Terminal has the distinction of having completed installation of the largest rooftop system in the U.S.A., with 25 acres of 9 megawatt solar panels. This major construction project was a boon for New Jersey, since it was done during a serious slowdown in the development of solar power across the state.
The Gloucester Marine Terminal solar panel system is expected to supply nearly 80% of the power needs for the warehouse; and it’s estimated that it will eliminate 9,500 tons of carbon dioxide annually. Corporations across the country are taking notice of the benefits of using expansive rooftops to harness solar power.
The Outlet Collection/Jersey Gardens is among the largest single-rooftop solar systems in all of North America, and it recently began producing solar power from the 4.8-megawatt solar power system.
IKEA is a megastore with 44 locations nationwide. Seventeen stores have operational solar energy systems installed on their rooftops, and 20 more are underway. Two additional locations in New Jersey will bring IKEA’s U.S. solar presence to almost 89%; and IKEA’s total U.S. generating capacity will reach 38 megawatts.
With the new legislation, it’s difficult to conceive that New Jersey’s carbon footprint won’t continue to get even smaller, progressively. In fact, New Jersey may deservedly become a lasting symbol of leadership and inspiration for the advancement of solar power and other renewable energy sources.
If you or your business are ready to help lead the way with New Jersey solar, contact the solar experts located in Hamilton, New Jersey. With over 50 years of experience, Bowden’s has a proven customer service record in offering solar electric modules, solar thermal collectors, solar hot water equipment and solar space heating equipment.
Photo Credit: David Paul Ohmer, Kimco Reality