The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has commended the New Jersey legislature for its final approval of S.B.2276, a bill to raise the state’s solar energy goal. The bill now goes to Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., for his consideration, and SEIA says it expects the legislation to enable the state’s solar industry and its 6,000-strong workforce to keep growing.
According to SEIA, New Jersey’s solar market is at risk of coming to a halt in mid-2018 after the state meets its renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which it’s on track to do by May 2018, a full decade ahead of schedule. The bill updates New Jersey’s RPS goal to require 5.3% of the state’s electricity to come from solar by 2022, up from 4.1%.
“The legislation approved this week provides a crucial short-term fix that will enable the state’s solar industry to keep growing and adding jobs, while the state works on an even more ambitious long-term plan,” comments Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs. “The New Jersey solar market supports 6,000 jobs and is delivering economic and environmental benefits throughout the state, making it a national leader. This legislation is critically important for preserving that growth.”
Gallagher adds, “We thank Senator Bob Smith and Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo for leading this effort, and we urge Governor Christie to sign this bill as soon as possible to help New Jersey’s strong solar momentum continue.”
SEIA says it will work with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, the new administration and other stakeholders to develop a long-term solar strategy for the state, including a successor for its Solar Renewable Energy Certificates program, part of New Jersey’s ongoing energy master plan process.
According to SEIA/GTM Research’s U.S. Solar Market Insight report, New Jersey is currently the fifth-largest solar state in the nation with 2,234 MW of cumulative solar capacity installed.