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New Jersey is among the three states that pioneered the solar power scheme in the U.S. With an approximate of 2GW of solar energy installed in more than 308,000 homes; this sector of energy production and utilization is undoubtedly on the rise. New Jersey has been ranked second nationally in terms of energy production, distribution, and overall performance. Being the most densely populated state in the US; seeking a clean source of renewable energy is a lifetime project that is worth an investment.

Started way back in 2010, solar contractors were able to install several solar panels on the roofs of buildings that generated over 130 MW of solar energy. This saw New Jersey rise to the second position after California which started the solar power generation schemes in 1991. The solar panels installed throughout the state are being monitored online to ensure the best of energy production, distribution, and maintenance. Read on to get all the compiled data about solar energy production in New Jersey.

Why New Jersey is the Perfect state for Clean Energy production

New Jersey is among the states with unconstrained developments in the country and this has boosted an ever-increasing population over the decades. The Garden State had experienced a period of adverse & heavy industrialization with minimal environmental regulations. That said, the State, however, responded to the said regulations by tightening up the rules and promoting projects that will promote the protection and conservation of the environment. The State’s position as a leader in the quest for environmental protection: has also been highlighted as the former head of NJ Department of Environmental Protection- Lisa Jackson, now heads the EPA.

New Jersey’s energy economy is an added advantage making the Solar Energy such an easier sell. The bulk of expanding electricity needs can now be comfortably replaced by the massive solar panels installations. Provided that the state’s strict rules governing the environmental laws still stand; other sources of energy such as natural gas and coal remain the minority. Renewable; therefore do not have to be subsidized that much to become competitive. With both the economic and political pieces in place; NJ has such a renewable energy standard that will see 20% of the consumed energy from renewable sources come 2020.

 

 

Photo by NASA on The Commons

 

Why solar energy?

The state’s flat topography means hydropower is not much of an option. Many of the rivers and estuaries flowing into the ocean in NJ have excellent potential for tidal power generation; however, the technology hasn’t advanced far enough to support such an effective deployment. As far as wind energy is concern, most of the winds experienced in NJ are offshore and they will be of less importance in power generation.

New Jersey is among those states where open land is often reserved. This means, the state wouldn’t opt for anything less of solar power scheme as a utility-scale project. The state’s aggressive target for renewable energy would then be met largely via the distributed solar.

Being densely populated, there are enough roofs available to host solar panels. The healthy diversity of shipping warehouses, shopping malls among other structures are also enough resources to guarantee a maximum harnessing of solar energy.

 

 

Solar installations in New Jersey

With over 500 solar companies working on the project; there are more than enough resources and manpower to complete the project in time. The State had set aside an approximate amount of; 7,423.65 million that includes funding the projects and paying the manufacturers/ installers. Some of the notable solar installations in NJ include;

Pilesgroove Solar installation project– this was completed in 2015 by developers Panda Energy and Con Edison. The Pilesgroove is a photovoltaic project that can generate up to 18MW of solar energy; this is more than enough to power 2, 800 homes.

Tinton Falls installation- this is a 16 MW rated solar farm that’s among the largest installations in NJ. This project was completed by Sundance in 2015 and can power up to 2,486 homes.

As a show of concern and appreciation to the environmental rules in the State; most of the renowned retailers such as FedEx, Toys R Us, Johnson & Johnson and McGraw-Hill have opted for the solar power. Another firm is the Berry Plastic Corporation that has installed a 14.2 MW photovoltaic power scheme in Phillipsburg. These are just but a few of the notable installations being witnessed around New Jersey and more are yet to be implemented.

RPS – Renewable Portfolios Standard.

RPS stands for Renewable Portfolios Standard. This is a set of standards that governs the solar energy production, distribution, and leasing within the New Jersey state. The body has a carve-out for solar energy that requires every LSEs; Load Serving Entities to provide (at least) 4.1% of electricity at the end of the in-state solar installations, come 2028. This is a target that can be achieved through the SREC, (SolarRenewable Energy-Credit) registration.

To register any of your solar projects with the SREC; there’s a must-pass eligibility. The conditions state that facilities should be: eligible for aggregated net metering, meet the definition for on-site generation, approved by DEP & BPU as being located in an area of the closed landfill. That said, the SREC pricing varies according to the supply & demand in the market. Provided the solar power plant generates 1MW, it can be comfortably bundled & sold on the market. The main purchasers are utilities which use the produced energy to meet their annual target of renewable power and failure to do so will net them a substantial fee. The fee will then be used to promote other installations. To achieve stability in the market; maximum prices for SREC is capped and this prevents excessive speculation.

Although NJ is hardly the sunniest states in the country; it manages to produce over 2,000MW of solar energy. Having an average of about 94 clear days a year; NJ still host over 22000 solar-panel installations that are working optimally. Solar leasing being the next big thing in NJ; there are a lot more you can gain from solar energy as far as cost efficiency and clean energy are concern. If your installation scheme, for example; produces more power than you need, you can lease a portion of your solar energy and you’ll end up on a cash positive side.