New Jersey’s Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) program has helped the state surpass 1000,000 solar installations, but is nearing its end. Now the state is proactively seeking to replace the program with a new solar incentive program that aims to build on the success of the SREC program and its utility board has issued a straw proposal signaling it’s open to ideas.
Under the straw proposal issued by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU), the board issued key principles the new program must adhere to. The board said the new program must provide maximum benefit at lowest cost while supporting growth of the solar industry. The board called for the program to ensure prior investments in solar retain their value.
“New Jersey’s solar program has been a great success story,” said NJBPU President Joseph Fiordaliso. “Just recently we surpassed 100,000 solar installations, placing us in the nation’s top ten for home and business solar installations. It is our goal to create a new system that allows solar to thrive while at the same time protecting New Jersey ratepayers.”
The new incentive program will also have to meet new Gov. Phil Murphy’s plan for the state to move to 50 percent by 2030 and 100 percent clean energy by 2050, according to the NJBPU. The Clean Energy Act he signed in May 2018 is the driving force behind developing a new program. The act requires the current SREC program to close to new applications when it reaches 5.1 percent of the energy sold in the state.
"This approach should allow enough time to develop a new program and provide continuity for the New Jersey solar market through 2020,” said Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “The BPU’s actions this week are positive steps toward meeting the Murphy administration’s clean energy objectives and we look forward to working with them as the transition details are ironed out over the next several months.”
As BPU starts developing the Solar Transition and Successor Program it said the process must be transparent. Also, it requires that the developers are notified that certain projects may not be guaranteed participation in the current SREC program. To that end it recommended dividing the remaining SREC applicants into three categories. The first is for those that apply and begin operating before the threshold is reached, the second for those that apply before the threshold is reached but don’t begin operating before the threshold is reached and those that filed for SRECs after the goal is reached to be enrolled in the SREC Successor Program.Tweet