New Jersey legislature passes bills establishing new solar incentives, encouraging more farmland installations

On June 30, the New Jersey legislature passed two laws that will help increase solar power development in the state.

S2605 establishes the SREC-II program with the Board of Public Utilities (BPU), which includes incentives for at least 1,500 MW behind-the-meter solar installations and 750 MW of community solar by 2026. It also includes a new competitive recruitment process to boost at least 1,500 MW of large-scale solar facilities by 2026, and develop location criteria for large-scale solar projects.

S3484 instructs the BPU to establish a “Dual-Use Solar Energy Pilot Program” authorizing up to 200 MW of solar energy projects on unconserved farmland. The measure ensures the continuation of agricultural production under and around the solar panels. It authorizes and promotes dual-use solar projects up to 10 MW each and lays the foundation for a permanent dual-use solar program.

“We are pleased to see the New Jersey legislature pass these two important laws that will help the state achieve its aggressive clean energy goals,” said Scott Elias, senior state affairs manager, mid-Atlantic for SEIA. “These bills will help facilitate at least 3,750 megawatts of new solar generation by 2026. While the devil is in the details about what incentive levels the BPU ultimately determines, how the competing request is designed, and whether reasonable location criteria for solar projects prevail, these bills bills send a strong signal that the Garden State is committed to promoting solar energy.

In particular, S2605 would guide the Board of Public Utilities in creating the SREC II program, a follow-up program intended to preserve New Jersey’s robust distributed solar industry while creating a new market for large-scale solar -energy projects.

“S3484 would make New Jersey a leader in dual-use solar development by removing existing barriers to bringing solar projects together with agricultural production on unconserved farmland, providing financial security to farmers interested in diversifying their income streams and demonstrating the range of environmental services that dual-use solar projects can provide.

“We look forward to working with state policymakers on the final design of the solar successor program and remain hopeful that the BPU will create a long-lasting and sustainable program that will transform New Jersey’s robust solar industry into holds.

“These developments are positive news for clean energy progress in New Jersey, and we urge Governor Murphy to sign these laws.”

News item from SEIA

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