New Jersey regained the top spot from Massachusetts in Solar Power Rocks’ annual State Solar Power Rankings Report. The report ranks states based on their renewable energy policies and solar incentives and awarded New Jersey with the top spot for its short payback period for solar—six years for a 5 kilowatt solar system and high rate of return on investing in solar among other factors.
“New Jersey has long been a leader in renewable energy, and as of 2018 the state ranks #5 in the nation for total generation from solar panels,” Solar Power Rocks stated in its rankings. “We like that a lot, but there's a long way to go, and the state's new governor, Phil Murphy, ran on a platform of clean energy advocacy. That could be a very good thing for the solar industry in the state, but potentially not so good for homeowners who haven't yet installed solar panels.”
While New Jersey replaced Massachusetts to top the rankings, Solar Power Rocks warned that is still faces some issues that could bring it down in future rankings. One of the chief issues is the fate of the state’s Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC) program, which needs to be replaced or renewed. That and the state needs to increase its solar carve-out to allow for more solar power. Massachusetts is seeing some trouble as it moves to an new incentives program while other programs have reached their limits.
“In many ways, 2017 was a year in which the solar industry remained in a holding pattern as legacy utilities continued to chip away at legislative achievements of the past. One way they did so was to use ratepayer money to finance lobbyists who fought to add charges to the bills of solar owners in states around the country,” Solar Power Rocks said in its executive summary. It singled out such efforts in Arizona and Utah where public utility commissions implemented new fees and decreased net-metering compensation for future solar customers.
Looking ahead to 2018, the report anticipated that the impact of President Trump’s solar panel tariffs will continue to be the big news of the year. Even though Solar Power Rocks and some in the industry don’t expect that the 30 percent import tariffs will hit growth in the residential solar industry particularly hard.
The report expressed excitement over Duke Energy’s proposed 60 cent per watt rebate for North Carolinians. The proposal would retroactively cover everyone who installed solar in the Duke Energy’s service area after Jan. 1. “Utility companies in other states should take note!,” Solar Power Rocks stated.Tweet