The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has received a record 410 applications to participate in the second year of its Community Solar Energy Pilot program.
The applications represent a total capacity of 800.5 MW and all but one project are committed to serving low to middle income communities (LMI). The program offers guaranteed savings for LMI households and fairer access to clean energy benefits. Clean energy justice is a key goal of Governor Phil Murphy, who advocates 100% clean energy by 2050.
With over 135,000 solar systems, New Jersey ranks number one nationwide in terms of installed solar capacity per square mile. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the state has the most planned municipal solar capacity for LMI homes.
“Our commitment to a stronger and fairer New Jersey has been our top priority since day one,” said Murphy. “Moving our state to clean energy will not only reduce the harmful emissions that pollute our air, it will also fuel much-needed economic growth and create career opportunities for a diverse workforce to participate in the clean energy innovation economy. Our Community Solar Energy Pilot program is a national example of its focus on clean energy and will help support the development of an ongoing Community Solar program with environmental justice at its heart. “
The Community Solar Energy Pilot Program, administered by the Clean Energy Program in New Jersey, provides access to solar energy through a subscription-based model that allows residents and businesses to virtually connect to a solar array in their electricity distribution company's (EDC) service area. This offers customers who are normally excluded from the solar market – due to factors such as cost, shady ownership or a lack of roof control – the opportunity to participate in and benefit from the clean energy industry.
In January, Murphy celebrated the completion of the first solar collaborative projects commissioned as part of the first year of the program – two nearly 7 MW plants in Perth Amboy built by New Jersey-based developer Solar Landscape. These projects alone have created over 50 permanent, well-paying local jobs that contribute to the fair future of clean energy in New Jersey.
For the second year of the pilot program, 150 MW allocation capacity is expected to be made available (twice as much as for the first year). For projects that mainly serve LMI households, 40% is earmarked. NJBPU will process and evaluate the 410 applications for the second year based on the evaluation criteria attached to the application form. Particular attention is paid to the inclusion of LMI and environmental justice, the choice of location with low impact and the commitment of the community.
For more information on the New Jersey Community Solar Energy Pilot Program, click here.
PhotÖ by PhilMurphyNJ is licensed under CC BY 2.0