Solar Advocates Welcome Bills to Advance New Jersey’s Clean Energy Economy
A3723 and S2314 Pave Path Forward for Residential, Community and Large-Scale Projects
State and national solar energy advocates today expressed strong support for both A3723 and S2314 to stabilize and expand New Jersey’s renewable economy. Assemblyman John McKeon’s bill and its companion in the Senate, S2314 from Senator Bob Smith, consider the renewable energy provisions that were previously included in S877, an earlier comprehensive energy package that was split to consider nuclear and clean energy components independent of each other.
The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), KDC Solar, the Mid Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association (MSEIA), New Jersey Solar Grid Supply Association, the New Jersey Solar Energy Coalition (NJSEC), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Earthjustice, and Vote Solar welcomed the legislation to grow New Jersey’s renewable development, maintain more than 7,100 solar industry jobs, and expand the benefits of clean energy to more residents.
The legislation released today would stabilize the solar market through 2021 by increasing the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) target for solar, closing the current solar renewable energy credit trading program in an orderly way, reducing the overall cost of the current solar RPS by lowering the Solar Alternative Compliance Payment, and setting in motion a process for considering the next generation of solar incentives in the Garden State. This legislation will also enable a community solar program, which will ensure that 100 percent of New Jerseyans have access to solar energy. The community solar program will give consideration to residential customers, especially in multifamily buildings, and low-to-moderate income customers.
Following are statements from solar industry representatives and solar advocates:
“This bill is a significant improvement and as an industry we welcome the short-term fix to New Jersey’s RPS and the authorization of community solar projects,” said Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “New Jersey’s solar industry is facing a crisis and the loss of thousands of jobs. Legislative action is needed to save this vital part of the state’s economy, especially as the federal government imposes misguided tariffs on solar cells and panels. We urge state lawmakers to pass A3723/S2314 and Governor Murphy to sign it without delay.”
“New Jersey has historically been one of the leading solar markets in the country. However, with over a third of households renting their homes, nearly half of homes being multifamily, and numerous small businesses, non-profits and other organizations lacking adequate roofs for solar systems, the vast majority of New Jerseyans have not yet been able to realize the benefits of solar energy,” said Brandon Smithwood, policy director for the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA). “Passing A3723/S2314 would establish a community solar program and lay the foundation for the community solar industry to invest, create new jobs, and serve the millions of New Jersey residents across the state who have been waiting for their chance to choose solar.”
“We strongly support and applaud the efforts of the New Jersey Senate and Assembly leadership and the vision of Governor Murphy in recognizing the need for action to be taken now to implement a rational transition from our existing SREC program to a new program that encourages the continuation of solar power development in the State of New Jersey,” said Tom Lynch, Executive Vice President & COO of KDC Solar.
“This legislation will keep New Jersey on track and maintain the 7,100 New Jersey jobs now supported by our current program as we transition to a new less costly platform. New Jersey continues to lead all other states within PJM in funding regional carbon reduction programs through its aggressive Class I program, it is welcome news that New Jersey’s solar clean energy jobs will continue to be an important part of that equation. We strongly support the leadership of Governor Murphy and our legislative leaders in this effort, but, most particularly the steadfast leadership of Senator Bob Smith in his tireless work in advancing clean energy in New Jersey,” said Fred DeSanti, Managing Director of MC2 Public Affairs on behalf of the New Jersey Solar Energy Coalition and The Alliance for Solar Choice.
“We are encouraged by efforts to push stand-alone clean energy legislation that includes provisions to launch a community solar program in New Jersey. All New Jersey residents, including low and moderate income customers, should be able to access the benefits of solar – including the job opportunities, energy savings, and credits. If done right, a strong community solar program can be a transformational tool to help expand solar access in an intentionally equitable way to communities that have long been underserved,” said Luis Torres, Senior Legislative Representative for Earthjustice. “We look forward to continuing working with our partners in New Jersey to ensure that any new clean energy policies are centered on the needs of all New Jersey residents.”
“This solar bill retains the industry infrastructure necessary for New Jersey to meet its renewable goals and ensure a cleaner air environment for New Jersey citizens, improving our air quality by reducing emissions in New Jersey, as opposed to meeting our goals with less expensive out of state renewable credits that improve air quality in other states where New Jersey residents don’t directly benefit,” said James Spano, President of the New Jersey Grid Supply Association (NJSGSA) and Vice President of MSEIA.
“New Jersey has a golden opportunity to shine and reclaim its clean energy leadership. We applaud Governor Murphy and Assemblyman McKeon for their continued commitment to expanding the benefits of the clean energy economy to all residents,” said Pari Kasotia, Vote Solar’s Mid-Atlantic Director. “Benefits of clean energy are multidimensional — they provide access to clean energy but also offer job opportunities, strengthen communities, and improve people’s health. Community solar is a critical tool to unlock the cost-saving benefits of solar to all New Jersey families as the vast majority of New Jersey residents lack optimal rooftop space.”
Celebrating its 44th anniversary in 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry, which now employs more than 250,000 Americans. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to build jobs and diversity, champion the use of cost-competitive solar in America, remove market barriers and educate the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.
The Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) is a national Coalition of businesses and non-profits working to expand customer choice and access to solar to all American households and businesses through community solar. Community solar refers to local solar facilities shared by multiple community subscribers who receive credits on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced. Community solar provides homeowners, renters, and businesses equal access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy generation regardless of the physical attributes or ownership of their home or business. Community solar expands access to solar for all, including low-to-moderate income customers, all while building a stronger, distributed, and more resilient electric grid. For more information, visit our website at www.communitysolaraccess.org, follow us on Twitter at @solaraccess and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/communitysolaraccess.
About Vote Solar: Since 2002, Vote Solar has been working to lower solar costs and expand solar access. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Vote Solar advocates for state policies and programs needed to repower our electric grid with clean energy. Learn more at www.votesolar.org
About KDC Solar:
Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ KDC Solar is committed to using clean solar energy to provide economic stimulus and jobs in New Jersey. It currently operates facilities at 19 locations throughout the state generating over 98,000 MWh of electricity annually. KDC Solar supplies commercial, institutions and government organizations with lower cost solar generated power. For more information visit www.kdcsolar.com.
The New Jersey Solar Energy Coalition is composed of a diverse group of firms involved in all facets of the solar industry. Our members include accounting firms, engineering firms, and law firms specializing in this renewable energy resource along with SREC market traders, project developers, material vendors, and firms that provide both the capital and financing to make it all work. NJSEC seeks to provide public policy support for New Jersey’s solar industry through legislative and regulatory advocacy, outreach, education, and the development of policy alternatives that align with the fiscal and social circumstances unique to New Jersey. NJSEC has worked successfully to help develop public policy that works for New Jersey by understanding the rhythms of the state and the careful balances that must be achieved.
Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.