The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) urged the New Jersey Legislature to pass Senate Bill 877 to keep the state’s solar industry growing and maintain the more than 7,100 solar jobs in one of the largest solar markets in the U.S. The bill was examined on Feb. 22 in a joint hearing held by the state Senate Budget and Appropriations and the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities committees. The legislation would modify the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Solar Renewable Energy Credit obligation to require 5.1% of New Jersey’s electricity to come from solar by 2021 (up from 4.1%). It also would establish a community solar program that will make solar available to residents who have not had the option before, such as renters, low-income residents, and small businesses.
Following is a statement from Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs:
“The New Jersey legislature has taken the right initial steps to raise the state’s renewable energy goal and create a community solar market.
"While a few key changes were left out of the final bill, including provisions to close out the current Solar Renewable Energy Credit program in an orderly manner, this bill provides both short-term fixes to the RPS and the authorization for community solar that the industry has been seeking. This legislation is particularly important as the federal government imposes misguided tariffs on solar cells and panels.”
With 2,234 megawatts of cumulative solar capacity installed, New Jersey is the fifth largest solar state in the United States. The state’s solar industry employs more than 7,100 workers, the eight most in the nation. It added 1,000 workers between 2016 to 2017.