The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, (BPU) announced that New Jersey’s solar industry has hit two significant milestones in surpassing 80,000 solar projects completed across the Garden State and their combined installed solar energy capacity exceeding the 2.25 gigawatts (GW) mark. As detailed in the August 2017 New Jersey Solar Installation Report, New Jersey has more than 2,252 MW (2.25 GW) of solar capacity installed statewide through 80,366 solar projects, reported as operational through August 31, 2017. Approximately 94 percent of all solar projects and 94 percent of solar capacity in New Jersey have been installed during the Christie Administration.
“We are extremely proud that the Christie Administration’s strong commitment to renewable solar energy and support of the State’s solar industry has led to the achievement of surpassing 80,000 completed solar projects across the state and are providing over 2.25 gigawatt of solar capacity milestone,” said Richard S. Mroz, President, NJBPU. “Through this Administration’s efforts to support widespread adoption of photovoltaic solar arrays, New Jersey has achieved the fourth highest cumulative amount of installed solar capacity in the country; with 94 percent of all solar projects and solar capacity completed during Governor Christie’s term in office. We continue to advance our sustainable energy policies and ensure distributed solar energy generation will continue to play an important role in New Jersey’s energy future.”
This milestone is an achievement only reached by a few very large states and demonstrates the success of the Solar Act in advancing solar across all market sectors in New Jersey. In fact, 2017’s installed capacity and number of completed projects are on a path to be the third highest total after 2016, New Jersey’s second highest year, behind only 2011. 2016 saw installed capacity of 404 MW with 21,810 total projects completed. 2011 had 447 MW of installed capacity through 6,471 total projects completed. Among the approximate 80,366 solar installations across the Garden State, there are over 74,000 residential, 10,600 commercial, 550 school, and 280 government projects constructed in places such as rooftops, carports, landfills, and brownfields.
New Jersey was recently ranked the second friendliest solar state for 2017 by the solar research and advocacy group Solar Power Rocks. In its newly released United States Solar Power Rankings 2017, Solar Power Rocks praises NJ’s commitment to solar energy, stating, “NJ’s solar carve-out is still near the best in the nation.” Another recent report issued by Clean Edge and the Retail Industry Leaders Association ranked New Jersey second nationally in Corporate Onsite Solar Deployment and third nationally in Corporate Clean Energy Procurement. Additionally, New Jersey continues to rank second in the nation for installed solar capacity at the electric distribution system level.
In July 2012, Governor Christie enacted bipartisan legislation that coupled acceleration of the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) for solar energy with a reduction of the solar alternate compliance payment (SACP) levels. The Solar Act has and will continue to help New Jersey’s solar industry meet an important goal of Governor Christie’s 2011 Energy Master Plan, strengthening the State’s solar market and securing the state’s place as a national leader in renewable energy. New Jersey is on target to exceed its 22.5 percent renewable energy standard portfolio by 2021, as outlined in the 2011 Energy Master Plan.
New Jersey’s robust and mature SREC market enables a variety of ownership models and types of contracts that make project financing possible for solar developers. Since Governor Christie took office in January 2010, growth in the development of solar capacity in New Jersey has skyrocketed by 2119 MWdc, a rate of growth of approximately 1,606 percent over just seven years and eight months.
Solar in the Garden State is installed on residential dwellings, business and government facilities, and underused land, such as landfills and brownfields. In addition to the environmental benefits offered by renewable generation, solar connected to the distribution system provides additional benefits such as: generating electricity where it’s needed and consumed; lowering capacity and congestion prices for delivery of electricity for all ratepayers; and lower energy cost for residents, businesses, towns and school districts that have solar arrays.