Solar power NJ: Be the change you want to see
Solar Power in New Jersey
Climate change, the most severe environmental threat on a global level, has risked lives and the overall well-being of the world’s ecosystem. Coastal states like New Jersey have seen a dramatic increase in rising sea levels, severe hurricanes, out-of-season storms and a rise in temperatures over time. The average monthly temperature in the division rose 2.29 degrees from 1988 to 2017, making it the seventh-fastest warming of NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) 344 climate divisions.1 As a result of this climate shift, the Garden state introduced policies in May of 2018 to accelerate reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and encourage cleaner energy production.
Since then, New Jersey has been a perennial “top ten” solar state according to the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) 2018 report2, ranking 5th in the nation with a cumulative 2,390 megawatt (MW) of solar capacity installed. The state continually advocates clean energy and offers lucrative incentives for solar power adopters ─ the market is driven by state incentives like net metering, a solar renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and an accompanying SREC (solar renewable energy credit) market which further encourages homeowners and business owners to transition to solar. The subsequent demand for solar power panels in New Jersey has lowered the cost of solar system installation, further providing solar with a significant boost in the Garden State.
The following statistics highlight New Jersey’s solar trend in 2018:
- National ranking: 5 (up from 11 in 2017)
- Homes powered by solar: 371,251
- % of electricity from solar: 3.72%
- Cost: Dropped 55% in the last five years
- Growth projection: 1,584 megawatts (MW) over the next 5 years
The future solar canvas in New Jersey
The state legislature passed a bill that increases the solar capacity requirement, but it also includes a proposal that would eliminate SRECs. New Jersey has almost doubled its renewable energy goals, up from the previous 24.4% by 2028. Meeting higher targets will require a new way to incentivize solar generation. 3 Under a new administration this year, the solar energy market is on the upswing and SRECs are still currently available to New Jersey residents.
The proposed legislation A3723, that establishes clean energy and energy efficiency programs, will once again open doors to a stronger economy through an increase in job creation, help curtail pollution and hopefully catapult the Garden State back to the frontline of renewable energy in the US.