As part of the second year of the now-permanent New Jersey Community Solar Program, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved 46 Solar Landscape community solar projects, totaling 51 MW in capacity.
The award represents just under one-third of all capacity awarded under year two of the solar pilot program. It also represents a greater than five-times increase in projects and a more than doubling of capacity for the company, compared to what it was awarded in the first year of the statewide program.
In year one, Solar Landscape was awarded eight community solar projects totaling 20 MW in capacity, with half of all available capacity being reserved for primarily for low- and middle-income (LMI) New Jersey residents.
The community solar program is administered by New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program. It provides access to solar energy through a subscription-based model.
To date, Solar Landscape has completed seven of the eight community solar projects approved in the first year. It said it expects to finish the final installation by the end of the year. The seventh community solar installation, located in North Bergen, will have a capacity of greater than 2 MW and is scheduled to be energized Friday, November 5.
Solar Landscape’s community solar installations are installed on the roofs of large warehouses and distribution centers. Earlier this year, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law A3352, which requires all new warehouses in the state to be solar-ready buildings.
Warehouse sprawl has become a big issue in the Garden State. A survey conducted by Newmark, a commercial real estate advisory firm, found the aggregate area of leased warehouse space in the northern and central parts of the state grew by 11.1 million square feet in the first quarter of 2021. Alongside this, South Jersey has become a hotspot for construction.
Efforts are also being made to ensure that new warehouses in New Jersey not be developed on environmentally sensitive areas such as sensitive farmland and near residential areas, due to concerns over stormwater runoff, traffic congestion, and increased pollution.
At the time of A3352’s passage, Megan Steele, communications coordinator for the Sierra Club New Jersey Chapter, proposed that the legislation could be used to expand community solar programs for low- and moderate-income families by opening up warehouse projects to these customers, exactly what Solar Landscape set out to do.