NJ IS SECOND IN THE NATION FOR SOLAR, RENEWABLE ENERGY ADVANCEMENT
PATERSON â€" Governor Jon S. Corzine today announced that the number of solar installations in New Jersey now totals over 4,000 with more than 90 MW state-wide. The announcement coincides with the ceremonial celebration organized by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) today at Birch Arms, a solar-powered, energy efficient showcase housing facility in Paterson marking the state's solar milestone. The ground-breaking achievement is the latest example of New Jersey's leadership as one of the largest and fastest growing solar energy markets in the United States.
"Today New Jersey continues to be ahead of the curve on energy preservation, implementation of innovative approaches to energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources," Governor Corzine said. "Our â€˜world-class' status is credited to our commitment to environmentally responsible action and competitive marketplace initiative.
"I also want to commend the BPU, the many representatives of environmental organizations, the solar industry, and the businesses and residents all across New Jersey who have been tireless advocates on behalf of solar development in our state and who share in this achievement," added Governor Corzine.
In October 2008, Governor Corzine unveiled New Jersey's new energy master plan, a roadmap to guide the state toward a responsible energy future with adequate, reliable energy supplies that are both environmentally responsible and competitively priced, with the aim of planning for New Jersey's energy needs through 2020.
New Jersey's solar success is particularly remarkable for the progress it has made in reaching the 4,000 milestone. Seven years ago, the state had only 6 solar installations.
"I am proud to celebrate 4,000 solar installations in New Jersey today and excited about the national recognition that New Jersey has received and for the work that the BPU has contributed in support of a solar industry in the state," said Jeanne M. Fox, President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. "Our achievement is a tribute to many, particularly Governor Corzine for his leadership in developing and promoting a comprehensive Energy Master Plan to provide a safe, secure and environmentally responsible energy future for New Jersey.
New Jersey's Clean Energy ProgramTM celebration took place at the Birch Arms apartments, a solar-powered and energy efficient residential development in Paterson. The 18 kW solar installation at Birch Arms was made possible through a partnership between the BPU's Clean Energy Program and the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. It provides energy to 15 studio apartments for formerly homeless individuals with special needs.
Constructed in 2008 by the New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC), the building is built to ENERGY STARÂ® standards. It represents a "whole building" approach to construction, combining energy efficiency with renewable energy. The whole building approach, a cornerstone of New Jersey's Clean Energy Program, is the most effective way to meet Governor Jon Corzine's Energy Master Plan goals of reducing energy consumption by 20 percent and generating at least 30 percent of the state's energy from renewable sources by the year 2020.
HMFA will continue to finance residential solar installations and increased energy efficiency with the recent dedication of $15 million in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) funds. $7 million will fund HMFA grants to construct solar energy projects on HMFA's income-qualified multifamily buildings. HMFA will own the Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) developed through this program, and the funds generated by the credits will be used to establish a revolving fund to finance additional solar installations. An additional $8 million will be dedicated to a low-interest loan program for energy efficiency upgrades at single-family and multifamily homes.
"These new HMFA programs and others funded through the federal economic stimulus program reflect a federal recognition that investments in energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable generation put people back to work quickly and create a more secure energy future for our state and our economy" said President Fox. "It is tremendously encouraging for our future to know that New Jersey has a partner in President Obama who shares Governor Corzine's commitment to a clean energy future and to the fight against global climate change."
Additionally, New Jersey's innovative Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) financing model is one of the state's newest initiatives to develop a vibrant solar market in the state. Representing all the clean energy benefits of electricity generated from a solar electric system, one SREC is issued for each 1,000 kWh (1MWh) generated. SRECs are then sold or traded, separately from the power, providing solar system owners a source of revenue to help offset the cost of installation. In most cases, SRECs will replace the state's rebates, which fueled solar growth in the early years of the state's solar program. The SREC program is expected to boost the productivity and efficiency of the state's support for solar development. New Jersey is the first globally to adopt the use of SRECs to help finance solar projects on a broad scale.
New Jersey's solar milestone celebration will continue on Wednesday, August 12, as New Jersey's Clean Energy ProgramTM showcases the solar project at Continental Trading and Hardware, a family-owned hardware store located in Newark, New Jersey.
Finished in February 2009, the 500 kW Continental Trading and Hardware solar installation was one of New Jersey's first SREC projects. It includes 2,100 panels and was financed through PSE&G's Solar Loan program, which will be repaid with the SRECs generated by the solar system over the loan period.
Information about New Jersey's Clean Energy Program can be found at www.NJCleanEnergy.com or by calling 866-NJSMART (1-866-657-6278).