TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie is expected to sign the solar energy bill Monday.
The bill, A2966/S1925, which seeks to balance the competing elements of government subsidy and market forces, was crafted by Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, (D-17), Franklin Township, with input from the governor’s staff.
The bill strives to do several things but basically it would require more renewable energy while trying to control costs. Among the specific provisions:
* Changing the solar alternative compliance payment from a 15-year schedule to one with specific values for each year;
* Requiring the Board of Public Utilities to investigate ways to reduce volatility in the solar energy program;
* Offering long-term Solar Renewable Energy Certificate contracts through a competitive process.
* Providing for aggregate metering of electricity usage by properties owned by towns or school districts.
The problem with New Jersey’s solar energy program is that it has been a national leader but has become something of a victim of its own success. The prices of the solar energy credits dwindled, solar energy companies sought more government support, and