New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) closed on a proposal for a Community Solar Energy Pilot Program. The approval is for the Year 2 Application, which will help low-income and underserved communities throughout the state benefit from clean, renewable energies. BPU’s decision is a step forward in the state’s push for net-zero carbon emissions and allows all communities to contribute to New Jersey’s economy.
According to BPU president Joseph Fiordaliso, Governor Murphy’s push for a 100% clean state by 2050 is dependent on community solar options. The Community Solar Energy Pilot Program helps reduce the use of carbon while delivering equitable renewable energy. Fiordaliso also confirmed that projects like the pilot program create jobs and increase the state’s need for a workforce. All New Jersey residents will be able to benefit from the pilot program, which is overseen by the state’s Clean Energy Program.
The Community Solar Energy Pilot Program follows the standard subscription model. Customers won’t have to install costly panels on their homes to enjoy the perks of solar energy. Subscribers not only receive energy perks, the community solar program provides them results in a monthly credit that reflects on their energy bill.
Year 2 of the program increases the capacity of the installation to 150-megawatts. That’s double the capacity of the Year 1 application. Based on the application, 40% of that energy is to be dedicated to low- to middle-income communities. Approximately 51% of Year 1’s 78-megawatts was dedicated to underserved households.
The first year of the program was a learning experience for the BPU. From feedback, it has created a better experience that will carry on through the remainder of the three-year Pilot Program. Originally established by BPU in early 2019, the program will be at full operation by fall of 2020. At that point, till will generate enough energy to power approximately 45,000 New Jersey homes.
Year 2 applications are being collected by BPU and are due February 5, 20201. For approval, applications must have at least 50 points, which are awarded based on evaluation criteria. The highest scores will be awarded capacity at the project.