Key committees approve companion bills to spur New Jersey’s clean energy economy

TRENTON, NJ - State and national solar energy advocates today thanked lawmaker leadership for approving bills to advance New Jersey’s clean energy economy. Assemblyman John McKeon’s A3723 was passed in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and Senator Bob Smith’s S2314 was passed in the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committeee. The companion bills will stabilize and expand New Jersey’s renewable economy and help extend the cost-saving benefits of solar to more families, communities and businesses in the state.

Vote Solar, Earthjustice, the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Sunrun applauded 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.

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Additionally, nearly 50 solar companies and industry associations sent a letter to Governor Murphy and Senate and General Assembly leadership yesterday strongly recommending they pass and sign this legislation into law.

The legislation will stabilize the solar market through 2021 by increasing the solar target,  closing the current solar renewable energy credit trading program in an orderly way, reducing the overall cost of the current solar Renewable Portfolio Standard (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. The bill also increases the overall RPS to 50 percent by 2030, and will enable a community solar program, which will ensure that all 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 advocates and industry representatives:

“New Jersey residents and businesses have long turned to solar energy for reliable, affordable and clean power. With today’s measures to keep clean energy shining, solar and other renewables can remain a bright spot in New Jersey’s economy by creating jobs, driving local investments, and giving families, communities and businesses a way to save with solar,” said Pari Kasotia, Mid-Atlantic Director for Vote Solar. “It’s more important than ever for state leaders to push for solar progress in their home districts and state, and we applaud lawmakers for moving New Jersey’s clean energy economy forward.”

“S.2314 has the potential to expand solar access to low and moderate income residents of New Jersey and we are encouraged by the committee’s vote to advance this legislation to the floor,” said Luis Torres, Senior Legislative Representative for Earthjustice. “As the process moves forward, we will continue to work with the legislature, where possible, and the BPU, to advocate for the inclusion of strong parameters for projects authorized under this act to ensure equity and access for low and moderate-income families.”

“Today, New Jersey took a significant step in the right direction,” said Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs. “Employing more than 7,100 New Jerseyans, solar is a vital part of the Garden State’s economy and we’re pleased to see lawmakers recognize that by approving legislation that will expand solar access and the benefits it provides to communities across the state. We look forward to working with stakeholders to make sure this progress continues.”

“New Jersey has historically been one of the leading solar states, but due to a multitude of factors, only one-third of New Jersey residents have access to solar energy and the financial and environmental benefits that come with it. Today’s vote gets us one step closer to ensuring that millions more New Jerseyans can access clean energy, and it paves the way for the community solar industry to invest and create high-quality jobs in New Jersey,” said Brandon Smithwood, policy director for the Coalition for Community Solar Access. “We appreciate the leadership and hard work of legislators to this point, and look forward to working with them and the governor to bring this important legislation over the finish line.”

“With this legislation, lawmakers are on track to solidifying New Jersey’s role as a leader in rooftop solar, continuing to provide thousands of New Jerseyans with high-quality, accessible clean energy jobs that can’t be outsourced, and empowering New Jersey consumers to reduce their energy bills,” said Nicole Sitaraman, Senior Manager of Public Policy at Sunrun.

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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 SEIA®:

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.

About 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 atwww.communitysolaraccess.org, follow us on Twitter at @solaraccess and on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/communitysolaraccess.

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