New Jersey BPU Moves to Change Solar Energy Subsidies

28 Dec 2018

The state of New Jersey is getting ready to lessen the financial burden of subsidizing solar energy development, shouldered for years by ratepayers.

The industry has matured, and the cost of installing solar has fallen since the Solar Renewable Energy Certificate program began in 2004, making it much more affordable for people to finance their own systems.

At a recent board meeting, the board adopted a rule beginning the process of phasing out the current SREC program and developing a new one called the Solar Transition and Successor Program, officials have said.

“New Jersey’s solar program has been a great success story,” said BPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “Just recently we surpassed 100,000 solar installations, placing us in the nation’s top ten for home and business solar installations.”

The state’s Clean Energy Act, signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in May, required the board to close the SREC program to new applications when 5.1 percent of the electricity sold in New Jersey by each electric power supplier and each basic generation provider comes from solar energy.

Board staff has released a “straw proposal” that will be subject to public comment and a series of public meetings in the first half of 2019, said BPU spokesman Peter Peretzman in a news release.

It says a new program must:

  • provide maximum benefit to ratepayers at the lowest cost
  • support the continued growth of the solar industry
  • ensure prior investments retain value
  • meet the governor’s commitment of 50 percent Class I Renewable Energy Certificates by 2030 and 100 percent clean energy by 2050
  • provide a transparent process for developing the Solar Transition and Successor Program
  • comply fully with the statute, including the implications of the cost cap
  • provide disclosure and notification to developers that certain projects may not be guaranteed participation in the current SREC program, and continue updates on market conditions via the NJCEP SRP Solar Activity Reports

The first public stakeholder meeting will be 10 a.m. Jan. 18 at Rutgers University, College Avenue Student Center, Multipurpose Room, 2nd Floor, 126 College Ave., New Brunswick.

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