Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Legislation in NJ aims to phase out solar credits

Another attempt to smooth out industry’s boom-and-bust cycles, this one by ultimately phasing out solar subsidies paid to array owners

Tom Johnson reports for NJ Spotlight:

The state’s solar program could be in for a major makeover.
In amending a bill (S-2276), the Legislature last week adopted significant changes to how the state promotes installation of solar systems, eventually phasing out existing financial incentives given to owners of the arrays.
The legislation is viewed as crucial to the state’s thriving solar sector, a market that has experienced boom-and-bust cycles in the past. It could be heading for the latter again unless the states ramps up mandates to rely on the technology to power homes and businesses, according to some solar developers.
The bill does that, and much more. The legislation proposes to phase out SRECs (solar renewable energy credits) and replace them with a new or modified way of encouraging increased reliance on the technology. What that system will be, however, remains to be determined.

Solar surcharge

The solar credits — payments for the electricity generated by the panels — have helped drive the market in New Jersey, which at one time was the second largest in the nation. As prices for solar panels dropped and the systems became more efficient, however, critics questioned why subsidies continued. Utility customers pay for the solar credits by a surcharge on their bill.
Even some solar advocates concede New Jersey is far more expensive than other states, but they have made little headway convincing policymakers to change the model here. This bill may give them a new opportunity, though some of its backers say the state may retain SRECs in one way or another.

Read the full story here

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