NJBPU Approves Utility, Course of for Group Solar Pilot Program

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The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has approved the application and process for the second year of the state’s solar pilot program. This measure ensures that underserved and overburdened communities have access to the health and financial benefits of renewable energy.

“Community Solar is a key element of Governor Murphy’s vision for 100% clean energy by 2050,” said Joseph L. Fiordaliso, President of NJBPU. “The dual benefit of the pilot is that we can expand renewable energies in New Jersey while increasing access to their benefits for our historically underserved communities. We know that meaningful climate action is inextricably linked with addressing the pressures that communities face for environmental justice. By creating a level playing field, we ensure an equitable and inclusive clean energy economy that creates jobs, combats climate change and benefits all New Jersey residents. “

The pilot program is managed by the Clean Energy Program in New Jersey and provides access to solar energy through a subscription-based model that virtually connects customers to a solar facility in their utility company’s territory. The resulting energy output is divided among several participants, known as subscribers. This can be a household or a business and will be shown as a credit on their electricity bill. This enables households that previously had no access due to costs, shady property or a lack of roof control to participate in a fairer solar market. Community Solar enables “going solar” without having to buy, install or maintain solar modules.

Program year 2 provides for a municipal solar capacity of 150 MW – double that of year 1 – and includes an outsourcing to ensure that at least 40% of the projects awarded serve low to middle income (LMI) customers. In the first year of the program, the NJBPU awarded 78 MW to 45 projects, all of which will provide at least 51% of their capacity to LMI communities.

The application process for the second year includes feedback and lessons from the first year, gathered during an ongoing public stakeholder process. The three-year pilot program set up by the board in January 2019 collects market information and implementation data to support the development of a permanent collaborative solar program for the state. Employees will work with stakeholders starting in the fall to develop the permanent program.

Applications for the second year are due on February 5, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. (CET). Staff will provide further details for submitting applications when the online application portal is launched. Applications are checked and evaluated using evaluation criteria.

For more information on the New Jersey Community Solar Energy Pilot Program, click here.

Photo: New Jersey Clean Energy Program landing page

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