New Jersey is making #solar strides. While there is still room for improvement, a focus on solar has become apparent in this remarkable state.
When many people think of New Jersey, they don’t necessarily envision the things which come together to give it its nickname – the Garden State. Those who never step out of Newark airport (EWR) miss out on the horse farms of Colts Neck, the beautiful Sandy Hook beach and the scenic Navesink River. They miss out on nature parks such as the 1,274 acre Cheesequake State Park. When one sees these spots, they realize that the need to help protect these stunning parts of the state is real – one way to do this is by going solar. And when it comes to going solar, this year could end up being the third biggest in terms of finished solar projects in NJ. The Garden State is number four with regards to having the highest collective total of installed solar capacity in America.
Going solar isn’t simply just good for the environment – it’s also good for the well-being of people. Consequently, the solar news which is coming out of the Garden State is quite captivating!
Murphy’s Solar Plan: A Game-Changer for Jersey
Phil Murphy’s clean energy plan, discussed via Energy Exchange, holds the possibility of being a total game-changer for the state of New Jersey. Murphy, Governor-elect, has influence which could help NJ to regain its leadership in the battle against climate change. Creating a clean energy economy could end up doing more than just helping the environment – when it comes to focusing on solar, more jobs can and will be created, and the health of individuals will be improved, too (natural gas plants create water and air pollution, for instance – using solar power can help to lessen cases of premature mortality).
New Jersey, home to some of the most delicious restaurants as well as very popular concert venues (and numerous other spots that use a lot of energy), can fully take advantage of solar – clean, less expensive energy and transportation systems are only the beginning. There has already been a substantial amount of progress, but more can be done in regards to the adoption of solar energy technologies, clean transportation, and solar energy efficiency. More can be done in the effort to go solar.
Unfortunately, when it comes to going solar with regards to clean energy transportation, public funds aren’t going to cut it. A recent report, Financing New Jersey’s Clean Energy Economy: Pathways for Leadership, takes a look at different groundbreaking financial strategies which leverage community funds and assets, thereby acting as a catalyst to private investment in solar technologies.
So, how can the state of New Jersey capitalize on solar energy investment opportunities? Take a look:
- Energy Efficiency – In terms of estimated potential for energy savings, New Jersey doesn’t rank very well – as a matter of fact, the state ranks 23rd in the United States. There are programs in place to decrease energy usage and improve efficiency, but they aren’t fully reaching their potential.
- Renewable Energy – The state’s solar market potential is approximately $40 billion, as per the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, or NREL. There is the opportunity to generate more than 300 terawatt hours of electricity on an annual basis, which is more electricity than the whole state presently consumes – how? Through untapped offshore wind.
- Electric Vehicles – A large percentage of New Jersey’s energy-related carbon emissions come from the state’s transportation sector – 50 percent, to be precise. NJ has a goal of having 15 percent of their car sales be electric vehicles within the next decade, but it’s just over 2 percent of the way there.
Room to Go Solar
New Jersey has a lot of room to go solar. The individuals who live there and have authority in the state just need the correct tools to start heading in a more solar direction.
New Jersey needs the appropriate finance mechanisms in place to create a more dynamic clean energy economy. Institutional concepts that utilize limited public resources should also be established. A public state bank could dedicate a solar financing unit that is devoted to energy efficiency upgrades. New Jersey could also establish a non-profit institution which finances renewable energy or solar energy deployment, solar energy efficiency and more by partnering with private lenders. Financial tools could also be used to inspire private investment. Of course, low and moderate income families need to be able to access solar energy upgrades, too, so tools should be market-oriented. The state should look into Environmental Impact Bonds and Green Bonds.
Property Assessed Clean Energy, better known as PACE legislation would let New Jersey permit commercial buildings to finance upgrades in terms of solar energy on their tax bill.
Note: PACE is a financial model which allows local governments and the private sector to fund energy efficiency and solar energy upgrades for both commercial properties and homes.
New Jersey needs to move forward fast in an effort to create the institutions and adopt the appropriate mechanisms to inspire private investment which will establish clean transportation and clean energy economies. Going solar in the state of NJ will have amazing benefits, as has been seen across the globe – the beginning is already clear in Jersey.
In an article published in September of 2017 on the Daily Energy Insider, it was communicated that the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, or NJBPU announced of late that NJ surpassed 80,000 operational solar projects with a collective installed solar energy capacity of over 2.25 GW. During the Christie administration, more than 90 percent of current solar capacity in the state was set up.
Richard S. Mroz, NJBPU President stated, “We are extremely proud that the Christie Administration’s strong commitment to renewable solar energy and support of the State’s solar industry has led to the achievement of surpassing 80,000 completed solar projects across the state and are providing over 2.25 gigawatt of solar capacity milestone.”
As mentioned, this year just might be the third biggest year for finished solar projects in NJ. As a matter of fact, the Garden State is number four in terms of having the highest collective total of installed solar capacity in the country.
The Future of NJ Is Bright – “Solar” Bright
New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan set an objective of 22.5 percent renewable energy, and it might actually surpass this goal. According to Mroz, solar/renewable energy generation will continuously play a significant part in the energy future of New Jersey. Staying on top of solar news coming out of NJ will surely prove to be interesting. Keep following the latest solar developments – while NJ has accomplished a great deal, there is still room to grow in regards to solar.