BPU: N.J. surpasses 1 GW of solar energy

TRENTON – The state announced today that New Jersey has surpassed one gigawatt of installed solar energy.

As of the end of February, a total of 1,008.4 megawatts of solar capacity has been installed statewide through 20,340 of solar projects, the Board of Public Utilities and the Christie administration stated.

“Reaching the 1 GW of solar capacity milestone is an incredible achievement and represents New Jersey’s continued commitment to renewable energy,” Gov.  Chris Christie said in a release. “It is clear that New Jersey will remain one of the largest solar energy markets in the United States.”

The state reported that among the more than 20,000 solar installations, there are over 15,500 residential, 3,000 commercial, 300 schools, and 200 government projects constructed in places such as rooftops, carports, landfills and brownfields.

New Jersey is on target to meet or exceed its 22.5 percent renewable energy standard portfolio by 2021, as outlined in the 2011 Energy Master Plan. 

The administration referenced a bill signed last summer that accelerated the renewable portfolio standard  for solar energy and sought to reduce the solar alternate compliance payment levels. 

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.

Environmental criticism 

However, the Sierra Club criticized the administration’s stance.

“Governor Christie is trying to take credit for New Jersey’s solar program that his policies have dramatically hurt and we have dropped in national ranking because of it,” Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said in a release.

“This not only hurts the environment, but the 5,000 solar jobs that are dependent on these programs. This is at a time that we need more solar and renewable energy especially after Sandy. His policies have undermined the ability of New Jersey to rebound after Superstorm Sandy in a more sustainable and resilient way. 

“For the first time in two decades we are no longer number 2 in the nation.” 

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BPU: N.J. surpasses 1 GW of solar energy