The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has announced a record number of applications for participation in the second year of its Community Solar Energy Pilot Program. 410 applications, representing 800.5 MW of total capacity, have been submitted for Year 2, with all but one project committed to serving low- to moderate-income (LMI) communities. To learn more about LMI community solar and why it’s an important aspect of the solar industry, check out our recent article here.
Governor Phil Murphy offered the following remarks:
“Our commitment to a stronger and fairer New Jersey has been our highest priority since day one. Transitioning our state to clean energy will not only reduce the harmful emissions polluting our air, but it will also spur much needed economic growth and create career opportunities for a diverse workforce to participate in the clean energy innovation economy. Our historic Community Solar Energy Pilot Program is a national example for its focus on clean energy equity and will help to inform the development of a permanent community solar program with environmental justice at its core.”
President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU), Joseph L. Fiordaliso, also commented on the necessity of community solar and the importance of the Pilot Program:
“Community solar is the key to unlocking clean energy benefits for the many New Jerseyans who have historically been unable to participate in the green revolution. Through our Pilot Program, we can further the promise of environmental justice for our most underserved communities while deploying the renewable energy necessary to reduce our emissions and improve public health for all. Community solar is a win-win for our residents, our growing green economy, and the planet.”
The record 410 applications for Year 2 of the Pilot Program will contribute to the expansion of equitable clean energy access in New Jersey. In particular, the program contributes to more equitable clean energy access via its commitment to guaranteed savings for LMI households across the state. Indeed, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), New Jersey currently has the most planned community solar serving LMI households.
Furthermore, the success of community solar in New Jersey will play a significant role in achieving the state’s target of 100% clean energy by 2050. As things stand, NJ is home to over 135,000 solar installations, making it the top state in the country for installed solar capacity per square mile.
What is the New Jersey Community Solar Pilot Program?
The Community Solar Pilot Program is administered by New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program and offers access to solar energy through the subscription-based community solar model. This model allows both residential and commercial properties to virtually connect to a solar PV installation within their electric distribution company’s (EDC) service territory, allowing subscribers to receive the benefits of going solar without the need to install panels on their property. This subscription model is particularly valuable to those customers who may face barriers to going solar, such as cost, shaded property, or lack of roof control. To learn more about the benefits of community solar and how the model works, check out our Guide to Community Solar and our Community Solar FAQ.
January 2021 saw the completion of the first community solar projects created under Year 1 of the Pilot Program. The two projects, with a total capacity of nearly 7 MW, were constructed in Perth Amboy by NJ developer Solar Landscape. On top of the solar energy capacity of the projects, they have also created more than 50 permanent, well-paying jobs, contributing to both the local economy and the clean energy future of the state.
It is anticipated that Year 2 of the Pilot Program will allocate 150 MW of capacity—double the allocation of Year 1—with 40% earmarked for projects mainly serving LMI households. It is expected that once the Pilot Program has been fully implemented, it will result in the generation of enough solar energy to power over 45,000 homes.
As with Year 1 of the program, the NJBPU will evaluate all applications based on the Evaluation Criteria specified in the Application Form Appendix. The NJBPU places particular emphasis on LMI inclusion, environmental justice inclusion, low-impact siting, and community engagement. Projects are required to score a minimum of 50 points to be considered for the Pilot Program and capacity will be awarded in descending order for each EDC territory, beginning with the highest-scoring project and moving down to the lowest.
You can read the full press release from New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program at this link. For further information about the New Jersey Community Solar Pilot Program, check out the NJ Clean Energy website.
Read More About the New Jersey Community Solar Pilot Program
We’ve covered the NJ Community Solar Pilot Program in the past, check out some of our articles below to learn more about the program and its growth so far.
Interested in community solar? Reach out to YSG Solar today. YSG will identify a suitable project for your energy needs and guide you through the subscription process, ensuring the biggest savings on your utility bill. To get in touch, send us an email or call at 212.389.9215.
YSG Solar is a project development vehicle 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.