Earlier this month, the Atlantic City Press Democrat erroneously tried to pit community solar against other forms of local solar energy. In order to meet Governor Murphy’s bold climate goals, while benefiting low income communities, we need to do more of both.
New Jersey’s low income residents were pummeled by Hurricane Sandy, where four of the five hardest-hit counties were among the poorest in the state. These communities often live close to toxic industrial sites and gas pipelines, and have not yet had an opportunity to fully benefit from the clean energy economy. So why is it that when we are starting to really scale up local, affordable, clean energy solutions, including both rooftop solar paired with batteries and community solar, we would consider slowing down?
I urge Governor Murphy and the Board of Public Utilities to learn from a recent example in Oakland, California where a dirty fossil fuel plant in an urban community was displaced by a “virtual plant” made up of aggregated local solar and batteries on low income housing. Imagine if we could deploy this technology in urban communities across New Jersey!
It is time to really invest in resilient, clean-energy solutions that deliver economic benefits directly to low income communities. Let’s avoid divisive tactics among clean energy solutions and instead focus on delivering more local solar to as many New Jerseyans as possible.