New Jersey approves 105 community solar projects, plans to make program permanent

solar landscape

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) approved 164 MW of community solar projects as part of the Community Solar Energy Pilot Program — 105 applicants, enough to power an estimated 33,000 homes. These approved projects will all allocate at least 51% of their capacity to low- and moderate-income participants. They will all be located on landfills, brownfields, or rooftops. The approved applicants include government entities and private developers.

The BPU also announced that it will transition from its pilot program to a permanent community solar program after only two years.

“SEIA and its members are excited to work with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities staff to develop a permanent community solar program that adds a capacity of at least 150 MW of solar energy each year,” says Scott Elias, senior manager of state affairs, mid-Atlantic for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Transitioning to a permanent community solar program will expand access to the many benefits of solar to more low-and-moderate income communities and help meet the Murphy Administration’s Energy Master Plan goal of 17 gigawatts of solar deployed by 2035.”

The NJBPU received 412 applications, representing almost 804 MW. Earlier this month, President Fiordaliso announced that the Board would be taking steps aimed at making the Community Solar Pilot Program permanent. Staff will be organizing a stakeholder process to discuss the design of the permanent program. Staff anticipates that this stakeholder process will begin early next year. This process will build upon comments received in response to the Solar Successor Program Straw Proposal in April and May 2021. Because of this decision, there will not be a Program Year Three of the Pilot Program, but rather the BPU will move directly into the permanent program which is anticipated to be up and running next year.

Success story

Solar Landscape, New Jersey’s top-ranked solar developer, has been approved to begin 46 new community solar projects as part of the New Jersey Office of Clean Energy’s Community Solar Pilot Project Year Two. The newly approved Solar Landscape projects, posted by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities today, are expected to generate 50.96 megawatts of solar energy.

“Together, we are making clean energy history by opening access to solar power to everyone in New Jersey – especially our low- to moderate-income families,” said Solar Landscape co-founder and chief executive officer Shaun Keegan.

“We are pleased to build on the success of our existing community solar projects and I’m grateful for the continued collaboration with our partners in the commercial real estate, non-profit and government sectors. Thanks to community solar, we can continue to transition away from fossil fuels through clean energy and make it more affordable at the same time.”

Solar Landscape has completed seven of the eight community solar projects approved as part of Year One and expects to finish the final installation by the end of the year. Together, these projects will generate 20 megawatts of solar energy for more than 3,000 households – with more than 1,500 of them LMI households – making it the largest clean energy portfolio in the country intended primarily for LMI residents.

The seventh community solar installation, located in North Bergen, will generate more than two megawatts (DC) and is scheduled to be energized Friday, November 5.

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