New Jersey Solar Market Takes Off
More than 100 solar market participants gathered in June at the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s solar rooftop terrace to celebrate the summer solstice and a milestone in the growth of New Jersey’s solar market.
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Office of Clean Energy reported that over 500 solar electric systems have been installed in New Jersey since 2001 through the New Jersey Clean Energy Program, and the market is strengthening.
A new solar credits program that pays solar system owners for generating and using clean, emission free electricity is helping to finance many of those systems and building confidence in New Jersey’s solar market.
“We in New Jersey are proud to be at the forefront of the growing and booming solar market industry,” said Acting Governor Richard Codey.”In addition, we offer some of the most generous rebates and incentives in the nation in an effort to encourage the use of renewable energy.”
The Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) Program is New Jersey’s financing mechanism for solar electricity and a way to compensate solar generators for the generation and use of clean, emission free power.
Registered-solar owners receive one SREC certificate for each 1,000 kWh of electricity produced by the solar system.
These certificates can then be traded at prices ranging from $160 to over $200, depending on market dynamics and the amount of demand for SRECs.
The Office of Clean Energy reports today 2,216 SRECs were traded in the first year and New Jersey SREC prices have trended upward, ranging from $160 in August 2004 to $200 in April 2005.
Demand is forecast to double in the in reporting year 2005.
An average residential solar system produces 8,000 kWh, at no cost, and generates up to $1,600 a year. Along with the solar rebates available through the state, the added revenues improve business and residential customers’ ability to finance projects and reduce the payback period for solar.
“The ‘New Jersey Solar Mixer’ is a great opportunity for all involved parties to come together, celebrate our triumphant beginning, and share plans for an even more successful future in an industry that is currently booming,” said Jeanne Fox, president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
“Our hope is that clean and renewable energy in New Jersey will become an industry that is regulated by the market and will respond to market demands, sustaining itself and creating alternatives to cleaner generation of electricity.”
In the year since the SRECs were first approved in New Jersey, the Office of Clean Energy today reports that New Jersey residents and businesses received a total of $21 million in solar rebates since 2001 – nearly $11 million in 2004 alone.
Consumer demand in New Jersey for solar has quadrupled from 42 systems installed in 2002 to 282 systems installed in 2004. The most unique feature of New Jersey’s program is that SRECs are owned by the system owners, creating an incentive for both residential and business customers to invest in solar.
In other states, the utilities or installers own the renewable energy certificates.
Large and small solar electric systems owners attended today’s event, networking with trade companies, solar installers, manufacturing companies and large national entities that are part of the US solar and renewable market – such as BP Solar, the MidAtlantic Solar Energy Industry Association, Johnson & Johnson, Sun Farm Ventures, Inc., and Reliant Energy Solutions.
Provided by the Environmental News Service.