Vote Solar Urges NJ Lawmakers to Build a Strong and Inclusive Clean Energy Economy with Low-Income, Community Solar Commitments

With New Jersey lawmakers considering major energy legislation (S877), non-profit advocacy group Vote Solar is urging legislators to lead the nation with bold renewable energy policy that expands solar opportunity for individuals, communities and low-income families in the state. Vote Solar’s Mid-Atlantic Director, Pari Kasotia, testified today at a bill hearing supporting critical amendments so that the bill serves low-income families and communities, which will help build a clean energy economy that improves health and wellbeing for all.

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“New Jersey has a golden opportunity to reclaim the top spot it once had in America’s clean energy economy, but it must do so in a way that gives every family, business and community the opportunity to go solar and thrive,” said Pari Kasotia. “We urge state lawmakers to prioritize programs that specifically serve low-income consumers, renters and others who may not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from clean energy.”

During his successful campaign, Governor Murphy made a bold but achievable clean energy commitment: within his first 100 days in office, he would set New Jersey on a path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 to create thousands of local jobs, improve community health, and move the state forward on urgent climate action. Vote Solar notes that to build a strong and inclusive clean energy economy, the state needs to advance bold solar policy that includes:

  • Smart policies that empower individuals, businesses and utilities alike to invest in solar.

  • A robust community solar program that will expand the clean energy economy to renters and businesses who are currently restricted to benefit from solar due to unsuitable rooftop space.

  • Dedicated provisions to ensure that low-income and environmental justice communities are able to participate in and benefit from New Jersey’s growing solar economy, including a commitment for 15 percent of the community solar program to serve low-to-moderate income households.

In its current form, S877 does not include explicit provisions for serving low-income families, which Vote Solar calls a missed opportunity to put solar to work addressing some of the state’s most pressing social, environmental and economic challenges. The bill was cleared today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and now moves to the Senate floor and will be taken up for a second hearing in the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.

Solar power already supports more than 7,000 good paying jobs in New Jersey. Increased investment in and deployment of solar would support more local jobs, while improving community health, resilience and empowerment.

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