June 10, 2012

New Jersey Senate pushes forward solar bill

The New Jersey state legislature has pushed forward a bill designed to help rejuvenate the state's struggling solar power sector, according to NJ Spotlight.

While states like Arizona and New Mexico have begun to emerge as strong centers for solar power, New Jersey quickly jumped up to become the second-largest solar market behind California through strong supportive policies.

The law allows businesses and homeowners to sell solar renewable energy certificates to utilities to help them meet their renewable portfolio standards. However, a dramatic oversupply of SRECs in the state led to plummeting prices, and a much weaker incentive for the industry.

The new bill would help to correct this drop by accelerating the renewable portfolio requirements for utilities, increasing demand for SRECs.

After passing the Senate with a vote of 24-7, the legislation now moves on the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee, where industry representatives are expecting a strong fight to receive approval before the legislature adjourns next month.

While California dominates the solar market, installing 542 megawatts of capacity in 2011, the Solar Energy Industries Association reports New Jersey added 313 megawatts, up from 132 megawatts the year before.

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