NJ’s solar energy market shows continued strength

September 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

New Jersey’s solar energy market showed continued strength through the second quarter this year, with 75 megawatts worth of capacity added – nearly identical to what was added in the first quarter.

The state’s second-quarter installations trailed only California and Arizona, according to data compiled for the Solar Energy Industries Association.

In addition, the price for solar credits looks to have finally stabilized after a steep decline over the past 12 months. Solar Renewable Energy Credits, or SRECs, are credits earned by residential and commercial owners of solar panels. The credits can be sold to energy companies that are required by the state to generate a certain amount of their electricity through solar.

The price of solar credits, which had been as high as $309 per megawatt hour last September, had dropped steadily over the past 12 months, to a low of $184.28 in June. Then, in July, the price ticked up slightly to $184.41.

In the past, energy providers such as PSEG purchased credits from solar producers to meet their state quotas without building their own solar installations.

But then utilities started to produce more of their own solar generation, driving the price for solar credits down.

Last summer, Governor Christie signed a Democrat-backed bill designed to stabilize the solar credit market by requiring utility companies to increase the percentage of power derived from solar.

The credits are often seen as an incentive for homeowners and businesses to install solar systems, since they can recoup some of the cost by selling the credits.

HoJae Lee, owner of SuperGreen Solutions in Englewood, which sells and installs solar arrays, said that, while last year’s legislation “hasn’t had much effect thus far,” he hopes the credit prices have bottomed out. “Hopefully, now it will start to increase again.”

New Jersey remains one of the strongest states in solar energy installations. It ranked second in new solar capacity in 2011 and was third in 2012. Through the end of last year, New Jersey’s 956 megawatts only trailed California’s 2,559 and Arizona’s 1,106, according to data compiled by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council. On a per capita basis, the state ranks fourth, behind Arizona, Hawaii and Nevada.

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