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NJ Solar Program Gets New Life Under New Law

This morning Governor Chris Christie signed into law bipartisan legislation to strengthen and encourage the continued growth of New Jersey’s solar industry, while protecting ratepayers from increased costs. The bill couples an acceleration of the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) for solar energy with a reduction of the solar alternate compliance payments, strengthening the solar market in New Jersey, and securing the state’s place as a national solar energy leader.

Governor Chris Christie
Governor's Office/Tim Larsen

“Since my time running for office, I made it clear that my Administration would be unrivaled in our aggressive support for the development of renewable sources of energy in New Jersey,” says Christie. “Renewable energy not only helps meet our goals of increasing sustainability and protecting the environment, but can be an engine for economic growth and the creation of good-paying jobs for the people of our state.”

The legislation is designed help to stabilize Solar Renewal Energy Credits (SRECs) by accelerating the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard and allowing for the extension of net metering. The New Jersey Sierra Club says without this law the solar industry would have collapsed.  New Jersey SRECs are reaching historic lows and this law will help to reverse that trend and stabilize these credits.

Christie says the new law, “Will help us remain a national leader in the solar energy industry as we continue to promote innovative approaches to solar development, like developing landfills and other unusable lands and transforming them into sources of usable clean energy, all while holding down costs for families and businesses.”

It’s estimated that the law will save solar in New Jersey and the 5,000 jobs solar creates. New Jersey is second in the nation in solar producing 700 megawatts of energy, more than the amount of energy produced by Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant.

“This law is a victory for solar in New Jersey because without it the solar program would have died. Solar is important for New Jersey because it is electricity without pollution. We get to grow our economy and create jobs,” says Jeff Tittel, executive director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This bill was a compromise since everyone had to give up something. The bill is far from perfect, but without it there would be no solar in New Jersey. We thank Governor Christie for signing the bill because it is important in keeping the solar program moving forward in New Jersey.”

Matt Elliott, Environment New Jersey’s Clean Energy Advocate says, “This bill ensures the continued success of our state’s solar economy. Because of our remarkable success on solar to date, we are building at a faster rate than ever anticipated. As a result, we’ve seen an oversupply of solar credits on the market, causing the value of those credits to plummet for homeowners and businesses.  The bill that the governor signed into law today would accelerate the state’s solar requirements over the next few years, driving up demand for the credits and helping to stabilize the solar market, all while helping to bring twice as much solar to New Jersey in the very immediate future.”

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