Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Solar energy pictures in New Jersey: The dull and bright

New York Times photo

A report in today's NJSpotlight paints a pretty depressing picture of New Jersey's formerly red-hot solar energy marketplace.
In December, preliminary figures from the state Office of Clean Energy indicate that just nine megawatts of new arrays were installed in New Jersey that month, a significant drop-off from the rapid pace of previous months, when 42 megawatts were developed in October 2011 alone.
 The decline reflects a steep drop in the prices that owners of solar systems earn for the electricity their arrays produce, which have fallen from a high in the mid-$600 range 18 months ago to as low as $70 in recent days. That collapse has dried up investment in New Jersey’s solar market, once second behind only California in the number of solar installations.
“Everyone I talk to says the money has left New Jersey,’’ said Fred DeSanti, a lobbyist who represents a number of solar and renewable energy businesses. “It’s absolutely dead.’’

But the Wall Street Journal has some upbeat news.
Public Service Electric & Gas Co., the state's largest power supplier, is nearing completion of a program to mount 175,000 solar panels on utility poles along highways and residential streets. Those involved with the $200 million project say it's the largest installation of its type in the world.
The last of the 3-by-5-foot solar panels—which weigh about 25 pounds and are mounted on angles part-way up the poles to maximize exposure to the sun—is scheduled to be installed in early April. The panels were going up at a rate of 300 a day until Sandy interrupted the process. Some 120 solar poles were damaged by the storm, according to utility spokesman Michael Jennings.
The combined energy generated by the panels, 40 megawatts, would be able to power more than 6,000 homes, according to the utility.

Read the full stories
New Jersey Solar Sector Stalls and Falls 
Sun Power, Pole by Pole

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