New Jersey breaks the 1 gigawatt barrier for solar power

New Jersey has identified itself a leader in solar energy generation by breaking into the 1 gigawatt power generation club. Part of their success included being responsible for one-third of the national non-residential installations.

(Q)Where New Jersey has shined over the years is in what the data-keepers call nonresidential or commercial installations -- solar that goes on government, business and nonprofit buildings. The Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research said they found that “New Jersey was responsible for nearly one-third of the nation’s non-residential […] solar installations last year. In total, more than 415 megawatts of solar was added to the state’s power grid in 2012, a 33 percent increase over 2011 (313 megawatts).”(&Q)

One area where New Jersey has plenty of room to improve is the residential solar generation. New Jersey uses a system of credits, rather than the rebates that are used in many other states, which has caused a problem when it comes to the financial benefits of adding solar generation to private homes.

(Q)Instead of rebates, the state has used a system of tradable solar renewable energy credits as a prime driver for new solar. The problem is that there were so many installations, especially in 2010 and 2011, that the number of credits on the market skyrocketed, causing the value of those credits to drop significantly. That made solar less attractive.(&Q)

Even with the issues of the financial benefits for residential solar, New Jersey is on the path to being a leader in solar adoption and power generation.