Solar power in New Jersey

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Solar power in New Jersey has been aided by a Renewable Portfolio Standard which requires that 22.5% of New Jersey's electricity come from renewable resources by 2021, and by one of the most favorable net metering standards in the country, along with Arizona, allowing unlimited customers of any size array to use net metering, although generation may not exceed annual demand. Best practices recommend limiting net metering only to the size of the customer’s service entrance capacity (i.e. no limit).[1]

New Jersey is second in the nation in the total number of homes and businesses which have solar panels installed. As of May 31, 2013, 22,014 solar photovoltaic systems have been installed, totaling over 1,078 MW. New Jersey is the second largest solar state in the U.S. with 306.1 megawatts of installed solar power in 2011, which was a 131% increase over the 132.4 megawatts installed in 2010. In 2010, New Jersey became the second state, after California, to install over 100 MW in a single year.[2] Many of the homes, schools and businesses which have installed solar panels can be monitored online on the internet.[3] Prominent solar contractors in New Jersey include: 1st Light Energy, Gehrlicher Solar America Corp., Trinity Solar, GeoPeak Energy and Amberjack Solar.[4]

North America's largest rooftop photovoltaic system (lower right) is on the banks of the Delaware River in the Port of Camden

Net metering[edit]

Main article: Net metering

New Jersey is one of five states to receive an A in a comparison of the 38 states plus Washington D.C. which have net metering. Five received an F.[5] New Jersey and Colorado were the only two states to allow unlimited net metering customers, up to 2 megawatts for each customer. In 2010 the limit was removed, and in 2012 connection may be to a 69 kV or lower line voltage, raising the previous requirements.[6] New Jersey is one of three states which have no limit, although generation may not exceed annual demand, and the Board of Public Utilities originally had the option of limiting participation to 2.5% of peak demand,[7] but the cap was raised to 2.9% in August 2015, which was seen as a temporary fix that would cover 3 years.[8]

Incentives[edit]

The former New Jersey Clean Energy Program rebates on PV equipment have been discontinued.[9][10]

The federal income tax credit for PV and solar thermal was extended in December 2015 to remain at 30% for systems put into service by the end of 2019, then 26% until the end of 2020, and then 22% until the end of 2021. The credit can be applied toward the Alternative Minimum Tax.[11]

NJ law provides new solar power installations with exemptions from the 7% state sales tax, and from any increase in property assessment (local property tax increases), subject to certain registration requirements.[12][13]

Renewable Portfolio Standard[edit]

New Jersey's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) is one of the most aggressive in the United States and requires each electricity supplier/provider to provide 22.5% from renewable energy sources by 2021. In addition, 2.12% must come from solar electricity, an amount estimated to be 1,500 megawatts (MW).[6] Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) must be purchased by electricity suppliers to meet the state targets or else they face a fine known as a Solar Alternative Compliance Payment (SACP) that was $0.691/kWh in 2010.[14] As New Jersey was approaching the minimum requirements, the requirements were accelerated on July 23, 2012, changing the shape of the compliance curve from slowly increasing at first to rapidly increasing at first.[6]

By the end of February 2016, 1,604,180.7 kW of solar had been installed and an additional 392,809.9 kW was planned.[15]

Total Photovoltaics[16][17][18]
Year Total installed solar power (MWp)
2001
0.009
2002
0.773
2003
1.530
2004
3.674
2005
9.200
2006
27.070
2007
47.504
2008
62.701
2009
126.264
2010
260.000
2011
565.900
2012
955.620
2013
1,184.600
2014
1,574
2015
1,632

Solar Renewable Energy Certificates[edit]

In 2004, New Jersey adopted a program promoting the use of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) to meet the solar energy carve-out of the state RPS. In the 2011 Energy Year, 306,000 SRECs (or MWhs of solar electricity) must be purchased by electricity suppliers in the state in order to meet the state solar requirement. That requirement grows to over 5 million in 2026.[19]

An SREC program is an alternative to the feed-in tariff model popular in Europe. The key difference between the two models is the market-based mechanism that drives the value of the SRECs, and therefore the value of the subsidy for solar. In a feed-in tariff model, the government sets the value for the electricity produced by a solar facility. If the level is too high, too much solar power is built and the program is more costly. If the feed-in tariff is set too low, not enough solar power is built and the program is ineffective.

The SREC program allows for the creation of a certificate with every megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity produced. The certificate represents the "solar" aspect of the electricity that is produced and can be unbundled and sold separately from the electricity itself. Electricity companies, known as load-serving entities, are required by state RPS laws to procure a certain amount of their electricity from solar. Since it is often more costly for them to build solar farms themselves, the load-serving entities will purchase SRECs from solar generators and use the SRECs to comply with the state laws. With an SREC market, the value of an SREC is determined by supply and demand, subject to certain limitations. If solar is slow to develop, SREC values will remain high, encouraging the development of solar. If too much solar is added, SREC values will decrease, which in turn lowers the attractiveness of the investment. The goal of an SREC market is to find the SREC price that effectively represents the difference between the cost of producing other electricity and the cost of producing solar electricity. As the cost of solar electricity comes down, so will the value needed for SRECs. SRECs in New Jersey have traded as high as $680 per MWh.[20] In comparison, the average sale price for the electricity itself ranges from $50 per MWh to $180 per MWh. The value created from the benefits of selling SRECs dwarf the value created by the actual electricity produced in today's market. This means that SRECs play a major role in the return on investment for solar in New Jersey. The program was modified in the "solar rescue bill" to increase the value of the SRECs, which have declined in value by 92% but cap them at no more than $325.[21]

Solar 4 All project[edit]

Solar panels on PSE&G utility poles in South Brunswick

In 2009, Public Service Enterprise Group, the largest utility company in New Jersey, announced plans to install solar panels on 200,000 utility poles in its service area, the largest such project in the world.[22][23] The Solar 4 All project intends to increase the capacity for renewable energy in New Jersey by 120 MW and is expected to be completed in 2013.[24] In addition to 40 MW of pole mounted power,[25] PSEG is building four solar farms in Edison, Hamilton, Linden, and Trenton.[26] 40 MW is expected to come from customer installed projects. As of August 2012, the 40 MW of solar farms are 90% complete.[27]

Comparative capacity[edit]

US Grid Connected Photovoltaics Capacity (MWp)[28][29][30][31][32]
No Jurisdiction 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
1 California 5,183.4 2,559.3 1,563.6 1,021.7 768.0 528.3 328.8
2 Arizona 1,563.1 1,106.4 397.6 109.8 46.2 25.3 18.9
3 New Jersey 1,184.6 955.7 565.9 259.9 127.5 70.2 43.6
7 Colorado 360.4 299.6 196.7 121.1 59.1 35.7 14.6
9 New Mexico 256.6 203.4 165.5 43.3 2.4 1.0 0.5

Generation[edit]

2015 Monthly Profile of Solar for NJ[33]
NJ Monthly Solar Profile 2014 [34]
Year Generation
(GWh)
Generation
(% of NJ total)
Generation
(% of USA Solar)
2010 21 <0.1% 1.7%
2011 69 0.1% 7%
2012 304 0.5% 7%
2013 437 0.7% 4.8%
2014 677 1.0% 4.2%
2015 824 1.1% 3.1%

Beginning with the 2014 data year, Energy Information Administration will estimate distributed solar photovoltaic generation and distributed solar photovoltaic capacity.[35]These non-utility scale estimates project that, in 2014 New Jersey, generated[36] a further 1,106 GWh and in 2015 an additional 1,145 GWh of solar electricity from such distributed PV systems.

Facilities[edit]

In March 2015 Six Flags Great Adventure announced its plans to clear more than 18,000 trees to build a 90-acre solar farm with 21.9 megawatts capable of meeting virtually all of the theme park's electrical needs.[37][38][39] Solar facilities are concentrated in the Central Jersey.[40] As of June 2014 the largest solar farms and photovoltaic arrays by megawatts in the state were:[41]

Name Location Coords. Commissioned Capacity Size Notes
Tinton Falls Solar Farm Tinton Falls 2012 19.9 megawatts
85,000 panels
Zongyi Solar Energy (America)
Pilesgrove Solar Farm Pilesgrove Township 2011 19.9 megawatts 100 acres (40.5 ha)
71,000 panels
Panda Power Funds
Con Edison
McGraw-Hill Companies[42] East Windsor 2012 14.1 megawatts 50 acres (20.2 ha) private corporate complex
Berry Plastics Phillipsburg 13.15 megawatts 50,688 ground-mounted panels private manufacturing complex
Frenchtown Solar III[43] Kingwood Township 13.2 megawatts 50 acres (20.2 ha)
33, 300 panels
French Solar 1 & Fenchtown Solar II nearby
Consolidated Edison
New Jersey Oak Solar[44] Fairfiled Township 2012 12.5 megawatts 100 acres (40.5 ha)
53,000 panels
Lincoln Renewable
Atlantic City Electric (customer)
Flemington Solar Raritan Township 9.36 megawatts 33,500 ground-mounted panels Consolidated Edison
Holt Logistics
Gloucester Terminal[45]
Gloucester City 2012 9 megawatt 27,528 panels Private refrigerated warehouse, one of the largest rooftop solar installations in the US[46]
Mercer County Community College West Windsor 8.25 megawatts 43 acres (17.4 ha) campus
US Foods Perth Amboy 8.135 megawatts Private rooftop panels on refrigerated warehouse

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Net Metering
  2. ^ Secondary U.S. Markets For Solar Power Are Continuing to Grow
  3. ^ "Live monitoring". Enphase. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  4. ^ Solar Power World
  5. ^ Report: States Falling Short on Interconnection and Net Metering
  6. ^ a b c New Jersey Passes Legislation to Stabilize Its Solar Market
  7. ^ New Jersey - Net Metering
  8. ^ Johnson, Tom (August 11, 2015). "Bill Could Mean More Money to Small Businesses, Residents with Solar Panels". NJ Spotlight. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  9. ^ Renewable Energy Incentive Program: Customer Sited Incentives "There no longer are incentives for solar installations"
  10. ^ "Renewable Energy". State of NJ. Retrieved April 29, 2016.  "solar projects are no longer eligible for rebates"
  11. ^ "Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit". Energy.gov. US Department of Energy. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Solar Energy Sales Tax Exemption". DSIRE. NC Clean Energy Technology Center. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Systems". DSIRE. NC Clean Energy Technology Center. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  14. ^ NJ Board of Public Utilities - Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs)
  15. ^ Solar Installation Projects
  16. ^ Solar Installation Projects
  17. ^ New Jersey Solar Market 2011 Overview
  18. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2014). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2013" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  19. ^ New Jersey SREC Market
  20. ^ SRECTrade.com
  21. ^ Forand, Rebecca (December 18, 2012). "N.J. solar market struggling from oversaturation". South Jersey Times. Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  22. ^ "PSE&G plans $773M for solar panels on 200K utility poles". The Star-Ledger. February 10, 2009. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  23. ^ "PSE&G To Install 105 Pole Mounted Solar Panels in the Borough of Magnolia". Borough of Magnolia. March 6, 2010. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  24. ^ Sroka-Holzmann, Pamela (July 27, 2010). "PSE&G installing solar panels in Hillsborough". Courier News. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  25. ^ New Jersey Utility Plans Major Solar Project
  26. ^ "PSE&G Selects Sites and Developers for 4 NJ Solar Projects Totaling 12 MW" (PDF). PSEG. January 6, 2010. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  27. ^ "PSE&G Solar 4 All(tm) Program Centralized Solar Program Capacity" (PDF). PSEG. August 10, 2012. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  28. ^ Sherwood, Larry (June 2011). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2010" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  29. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2010). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2009" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  30. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2009). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2008" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  31. ^ Sherwood, Larry (August 2008). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2007" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  32. ^ Sherwood, Larry (August 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2011" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  33. ^ "Electric Power Monthly" [1] retrieved 2016-3-10
  34. ^ "Electric Power Monthly-Data Browser 5/15"[2] retrieved 2015-5-30
  35. ^ “Electric Power Annual”[3] retrieved 2016 3 12
  36. ^ “Electric Power Monthly”[4] retrieved 2016 3 12
  37. ^ http://micromediapubs.com/six-flags-proposes-solar-panel-field-undeveloped-property/
  38. ^ Mullen, Shannon (March 27, 2015). Asbury Park Press http://www.app.com/story/news/local/2015/03/26/six-flags-great-adventure-solar-farm/70496800/. Retrieved 2015-03-27.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  39. ^ http://ecowatch.com/2015/03/28/six-flags-solar-farm/
  40. ^ O'Dea, Colleen (March 27, 2015). "INTERACTIVE MAP: SHEDDING LIGHT ON WHERE SOLAR ENERGY PROJECTS ABOUND IN NJ". NJ Spotlight. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  41. ^ http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/14/06/08/the-list-counting-down-new-jersey-s-10-largest-solar-farms/
  42. ^ http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2012/01/solar_energy_project_at_mcgraw.html
  43. ^ "Frenchtown Solar III". Con Ed Development. Retrieved 2014-12-30. 
  44. ^ http://www.nj.com/cumberland/index.ssf/2012/05/50_million_solar_facility_open.html
  45. ^ Greene, Jasmine (June 28, 2011). "Jersey Rooftop Solar…Gasp…Goes Big Again". Earth Techling. Retrieved 2014-12-30. 
  46. ^ http://cleantechnica.com/2012/04/07/largest-rooftop-solar-power-plant-in-north-america-formally-completed/

External links[edit]