The New Jersey legislature passed two pieces of legislation last week that will help increase solar development across the state. Now, it is up to the Board of Public Utilities to determine incentive levels, the design of the competitive solicitation and reasonable siting criteria.
S2605 establishes the SREC-II program at the Board of Public Utilities (BPU), which includes incentives for at least 1,500 megawatts (MW) of behind-the-meter solar facilities and 750 MW of community solar by 2026. It also includes a new competitive solicitation process to incentivize at least 1,500 MW of large-scale solar power facilities by 2026, and develops siting criteria for large-scale solar projects.
S3484 directs the BPU to establish a “Dual-Use Solar Energy Pilot Program,” which authorizes up to 200 MW of solar projects on unpreserved farmland. The measure allows for continued agricultural production under and around the solar panels, also known as agrivoltaics. It authorizes and encourages dual-use solar projects up to 10 MW each and lays the foundation for a permanent dual-use solar energy program.
“In order to meet the Murphy Administration’s Energy Master Plan goal of 17 gigawatts of solar deployed by 2035, we need much more solar deployment of all shapes and sizes,” says Scott Elias, senior manager of state affairs, mid-Atlantic for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). While there are still many critical details for the Board of Public Utilities to determine, we commend the Governor, Senator Smith, and the other bill sponsors for making it clear that distributed solar, grid-scale solar, and dual-use solar are all critical components of New Jersey’s energy future.”