Earlier this month, the New Jersey legislature passed two pieces of legislation that will help increase solar development across the state.
S2605 establishes the SREC-II program at the Board of Public Utilities (BPU), which includes incentives for at least 1500 MW of behind-the-meter solar facilities and 750 MW of community solar by 2026. It also includes a new competitive solicitation process to incentivize at least 1500 MW of large-scale solar power facilities by 2026, and develops siting criteria for large-scale solar projects.
S3484 directs the BPU to establish a “Dual-Use Solar Energy Pilot Program,” which authorizes up to 200 MW of solar projects on unpreserved farmland. The measure allows for continued agricultural production under and around the solar panels. It authorizes and encourages dual-use solar projects up to 10 MW each and lays the foundation for a permanent dual-use solar energy program.
Following is a statement from Scott Elias, senior manager of state affairs, mid-Atlantic for the Solar Energy Industries Association:
“We’re glad to see the New Jersey legislature pass these two important pieces of legislation, which will help the state reach its aggressive clean energy goals.
“These bills will help facilitate at least 3,750 megawatts of new solar power generation by 2026. Although the devil is in the details over what incentive levels the BPU ultimately determines, how the competitive solicitation is designed and whether reasonable siting criteria for solar projects prevail, these bills send a strong signal that the Garden State is committed to advancing solar energy.
“In particular, S2605 would guide the Board of Public Utilities to create the SREC II program, a successor program intended to maintain New Jersey’s robust distributed solar industry while creating a new market for large-scale solar projects.
“S3484 would make New Jersey a leader in dual-use solar development by removing existing barriers to co-locating solar projects with agricultural production on unpreserved farmland, providing financial security to farmers interested in diversifying their income streams, and demonstrating the range of environmental services that dual-use solar projects can provide.
“We look forward to working with state policymakers on the final design of the solar successor program and remain hopeful that the BPU will create a long-lasting and sustainable program that maintains New Jersey’s robust solar industry.
“These developments are positive news for New Jersey’s clean energy progress, and we urge Governor Murphy to sign these bills into law.”