Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tinkering with solar energy success in New Jersey


New Jersey saw the installation of more solar systems in the year of 2011 alone than in the entire prior decade. By June, it could hit a projected solar capacity of 702 megawatts--an amount at least 133 percent higher than a legislatively mandated targets.

NJ Spotlight's Tom Johnson writes today that:
"Those projections easily exceed the so-called state renewable portfolio standard for solar -- a requirement that steadily ramps up how much solar electricity must be provided to customers -- and are expected to hold until the year 2014, according to the consultant's analysis."
Time to break out the solar champagne?  Hmm, maybe not.

In Solar Megawatts Continue to Climb, Amid Concerns About the Health of the Sector, Tom also tells us about new factors that have led some to fear an upcoming crash in the solar market.

They include a huge drop in the prices of solar renewable energy certificates (the primary means of financing installation of solar panels), a reversion of a federal credit from an upfront cash grant back to a credit this year, and the elimination of an accelerated federal depreciation for solar systems.
"Worried about those issues, the state is exploring numerous options to remedy the drop in prices for the solar certificates. While not agreeing on the details, both legislators and the state Board of Public Utilities have embraced the idea of accelerating how much solar energy should be supplied to customers by power generators, although how long that should occur is still under discussion.
"In addition, the state is looking at extending utility-sponsored solar loan programs that help residents and businesses put solar panels on their homes and facilities.
Among numerous pieces of legislation designed to keep New Jersey's solar future shining are the three bills below that will be considered this morning at 10 in the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.


A-3731  Quijano, A. (D-20); Gusciora, R. (D-15)
Requires that contracts by non-utility load serving entities to purchase solar renewable energy certificate shall extend for a term of 15 years or longer.   

A-4226  Chivukula, U.J. (D-17); Benson, D.R. (D-14)
Limits eligibility for solar renewable energy certificates; changes certain conditions related to solar renewable portfolio standards requirements.  

S-2371
  Smith, B. (D-17)
Accelerates solar renewable energy portfolio standards. Related Bill: A-3731
Interested in the committee discussion? You can listen to hearing
live or catch it later

Federal court freezes EPA cross-state air pollution rules
Time runs out on Delaware's offshore wind project

Philadelphia now recycling milk & juice containers, too

In NJ, a clash over control of environmental regulations 

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