The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has approved 105 applications for participation in Year 2 of the New Jersey Community Solar Energy Pilot Program. The approved projects represent approximately 165 MW of solar energy capacity—enough to power 33,000 homes. With a clean energy agenda targeting 100% clean energy by 2050, the Community Solar Program will play a vital role in achieving this goal. Significantly, all approved projects will serve low-and moderate-income (LMI) communities throughout NJ.
Following the announcement, Governor Phil Murphy offered his thoughts:
“Our Community Solar Pilot Program is a national model for clean energy equity and environmental justice. This program not only makes solar available to those in historically underserved communities, but also will spur economic growth and create career opportunities for a diverse, more inclusive workforce. Community solar is a key pillar in our commitment to transition New Jersey away from harmful emissions and towards 100 percent clean energy by 2050.”
What is Community Solar?
A community solar project is a solar installation whose output is divided among multiple project participants, commonly referred to as subscribers. Subscribers are typically homes or businesses that want to use solar energy but are unable to install a solar array on-site. The subscriber base is usually made up of renters, those who live in apartments or multi-family buildings, or those who cannot afford to install solar panels.
LMI Community Solar
Community solar is particularly important for LMI communities as it makes the solar market more equitable, allowing LMI customers to participate in projects located within their utility territory. The projects approved for Year 2 of the New Jersey Community Solar Energy Pilot Program will all allocate at least 51% of their capacity to LMI participants, with all of these projects located on landfills, brownfields, or rooftops.
The Community Solar Pilot Program Application Process
In Program Year 2 the NJBPU received a total of 412 applications—representing almost 804 MW of capacity. Following program guidelines, these applications were scored out of 100 possible points and ordered from highest to lowest scoring, with the highest-scoring projects in each Electric Distribution Company territory recommended for conditional approval by the Board.
Making the New Jersey Community Solar Program Permanent
It was announced last month that the NJBPU would be working towards making the Community Solar Energy Pilot Program permanent. A stakeholder process to discuss the design of a permanent program is expected to begin in early 2022. Given these developments, there will not be a Year 3 of the Pilot Program—instead the NJBPU will move directly to the permanent program which is expected to begin next year.
Commercial Solar in New Jersey
It’s not just community solar that’s thriving in New Jersey, commercial solar is also a lucrative proposition for property owners in the Garden State. A commercial solar roof lease for 1 MW of solar capacity—requiring approximately 70,000 square feet—could be worth somewhere in the region of $70,000.
New Jersey Commercial Solar Roof Lease Requirements
If you are interested in leasing your roof for commercial solar in New Jersey, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The roof should be no more than 5 years old. If the roof is older than this, YSG will work with a local roofing company to install a new roof ahead of the solar installation.
YSG requires a minimum of 50,000 square feet for a commercial rooftop project.
In 2020, under the NJ TREC Program, a commercial roof lease could earn $70,000/year per 1 MW.
1 MW of solar requires approximately 70,000 square feet of roof space.
Solar Carports in New Jersey
YSG also works to develop carport and parking lot solar projects across New Jersey. For a solar carport installation, YSG can go as low as 1 MW for a suitable location. Having worked extensively on solar parking lots, solar carports, and solar canopies, we offer the following services:
Parking Lot Leases: We lease parking lots for solar canopy projects and pay the property owner rent.
Solar Carport Installations: We install solar carports and provide the carport owner with renewable solar energy via a power purchase agreement.
Solar Carport Host License Agreements: With our unique solar carport host license agreement, we take care of all geotechnical & foundation designs required for the proper engineering of a solar carport system.
Do you want to go solar in New Jersey? Reach out to YSG today. Whether it’s residential solar, commercial solar, or even a solar land lease, YSG can help you maximize your savings and lower your energy bills. Call the office at 212.389.9215 or send us an email to learn how much you could save with solar.
YSG Solar is a project development company responsible for commoditizing energy infrastructure projects. We work with long-term owners and operators to provide clean energy assets with stable, predictable cash flows. YSG's market focus is distributed generation and utility-scale projects located within North America.