Ranking as second in the nation for "solar, renewable energy advancement," New Jersey celebrates a major achievement this summer with the 4,000th solar installation, which carries more than 90 megawatts statewide.
"New Jersey continues to be ahead of the curve on energy preservation, implementation of innovative approaches to energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources," Governor Jon Corzine said.
This solar milestone was marked by a ceremonial celebration by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) on Tuesday at Birch Arms, a solar-powered, energy efficient housing program in Paterson.
"I also want to commend the BPU, the many representatives of environmental organizations, the solar industry, and the businesses and residents all across New Jersey who have been tireless advocates on behalf of solar development in our state and who share in this achievement," added the Governor.
One program that the BPU has implemented in an effort to achieve its "Energy Master Plan" goals, is the Renewable Energy incentive Program (REIP). The company website states that it is "striving to use 30 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020."
As New Jersey continues to grow as one of the leaders in clean solar energy it has set a new trend for other states, such as the Carolinas. According to ProgressEnergy, a 2.3 megawatt solar array is scheduled to be built in later this year in this state.
Currently, Monmouth County contains about 583 solar installations and the largest system size of 11,580 KwDC dwells in the Middlesex area.
In October 2008 ,the Governor unveiled an energy plan with the intention of creating more jobs while reducing the threat of rising prices by promoting a clean and reliable energy infrastructure. However, the main goal aims to minimize the high demand of electricity by 2020. New ideas and strategies have been added to the plan such as investing in updated clean-energy technologies and businesses that would contribute to the industry's growth.
"By embracing new approaches to energy, we are providing the pathway to both economic prosperity and environmental protection," said the Governor.
Completed in February 2009, the 500 kilowatt Continental Trading and Hardware solar installation was one of New Jersey's first and innovative Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) projects. It comprises of 2,100 panels and was endorsed through PSE&G's Solar Loan program.
Today, the groundbreaking success of reaching the milestone of 4,000 solar installations demonstrates New Jersey's commitment towards a reliable energy future. Previous reports released by the Governor's office indicate that seven years ago the state carried only six solar installations.
"I am proud to celebrate 4,000 solar installations in New Jersey today and excited about the national recognition that New Jersey has received and for the work that the BPU has contributed in support of a solar industry in the state," said Jeanne M. Fox, President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
Built in 2008, Birch Arms is built to meet ENERGY STAR standards. The housing facility combines energy efficiency with renewable energy. Now it is the home to an eighteen-kilowatt solar panel, which serves to produce electricity for the building's main areas. In turn, the reliance on carbon-based energy is significantly reduced.
"We have cut our utility bills for Birch Arms' common spaces in half since the solar panels have been up and running, and that allows us to save $3,000 a year. In addition, we have been able to collect about $1,200 a month in Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). That money can then go right back into the services we provide for our residents", claims New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) President Bob Guarasci.
With collaborative efforts of New Jersey Board of Public Utilities' Clean Energy Program and the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, this solar installation marks the dawn of bright future for New Jersey.
"Not only is renewable energy the right thing to do for the environment, is the right thing for our residents. We look forward to including more clean energy elements in all of our buildings moving forward" noted Guarasci.