233 MW Solar 4 All scheme in New Jersey01. August 2012 | Markets & Trends, Top News | By: Jonathan Gifford
A ground-breaking ceremony was held yesterday in Hackensack New Jersey, at a brownfield site that will be converted into a 1.06 megawatt (MW) solar farm. At the same time, local utility Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G), a subsidiary of PSEG, has applied to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for approval the expansion of its 233 MW "Solar 4 All" solar loan program.
Along with California, New Jersey has been one of the most prominent and active U.S. states in promoting photovoltaics. This trend has continued of late, with Republican Governor Chris Christie approving the tweaking of the solar incentive scheme and utility PSEG applying for approval for the US$883 million Solar 4 All loans scheme.
The Solar 4 All proposal, if approved, will see an additional $690 million of investment, to develop a further 136 MW of grid connected photovoltaic projects. 90 MW worth of projects would be located on landfills and brownfield sites, 20 MW on warehouse roofs, and 25 MW on large parking lots. A further one MW of projects would be for "pilot programs", such as those incorporate storage.
As a part of the proposal, SG&E would also seek to develop 97 MW of capacity through the third installment of its Solar Loan program, for homes and businesses in the utility’s territory. This would involve an investment of $193 million, dependent on the price of solar renewable energy credits (SRECs).
Last week, Governor Christie signed into law which accelerated the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), addressing a glut of SRECs and therefore helping to sustain photovoltaic demand in the local market. The Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) President and CEO, Rhone Resch said the political leadership has helped secure the photovoltaic industry in the state. "Thanks to the leadership of Governor Christie and our champions in the state legislature, New Jersey’s solar industry will now continue to provide jobs, investment and energy security for years to come."
Interestingly, Christie’s pro-photovoltaic stance is at odds with many in the Republican party, who have attacked the renewable energy sector and the government support of it. Christie has focused on the jobs the sector has created in the state, in defense of his ongoing support.
SEIA reports that New Jersey has 775 MW of installed photovoltaic capacity and in Q1 2012 installed 174 MW, which is the highest amount of any U.S. state for the quarter.
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