Solar power in New Jersey

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Solar power in New Jersey has grown significantly, increasing from less than 50 megawatts (MW) in 2007 to over 2,800 MW in 2018,[1] such that solar power provided 4.17% of the state's electricity consumption. This is aided by a Renewable Portfolio Standard which requires that 22.5% of New Jersey's electricity come from renewable resources by 2021, and by one of the most favorable net metering standards in the country, along with Arizona, allowing unlimited customers of any size array to use net metering, although generation may not exceed annual demand. Best practices recommend limiting net metering only to the size of the customer’s service entrance capacity (i.e. no limit).[2] As of 2018, New Jersey has the sixth-largest installed solar capacity of all U.S. states and the largest installed solar capacity of the Northeastern States.[3]

New Jersey has historically been aggressive in installing solar power, at one point being the second largest solar state in the U.S. with 306.1 megawatts of installed solar power in 2011, which was a 131% increase over the 132.4 megawatts installed in 2010. In 2010, New Jersey became the second state, after California, to install over 100 MW in a single year.[4] As of mid-2018, 94,510 solar photovoltaic systems have been installed, totaling over 2,526 MW.[5] Many of the homes, schools and businesses which have installed solar panels can be monitored online on the internet.[6] Prominent solar contractors in New Jersey include: Trinity Solar, 1st Light Energy, Gehrlicher Solar America Corp, GeoPeak Energy, Solar Maxing, and Amberjack Solar.[7]

North America's largest rooftop photovoltaic system (lower right) is on the banks of the Delaware River in the Port of Camden

Net metering[edit]

New Jersey is one of five states to receive an A in a comparison of the 38 states plus Washington D.C. which have net metering. Five received an F.[8] New Jersey and Colorado were the only two states to allow unlimited net metering customers, up to 2 megawatts for each customer. In 2010 the limit was removed, and in 2012 connection may be to a 69 kV or lower line voltage, raising the previous requirements.[9] New Jersey is one of three states which have no limit, although generation may not exceed annual demand, and the Board of Public Utilities originally had the option of limiting participation to 2.5% of peak demand,[10] but the cap was raised to 2.9% in August 2015, which was seen as a temporary fix that would cover three years.[11]


The former New Jersey Clean Energy Program rebates on PV equipment have been discontinued.[12][13]

The federal Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit (income tax credit on IRS Form 5695) for residential PV and solar thermal was extended in December 2015 to remain at 30% of system cost (parts and installation) for systems put into service by the end of 2019, then 26% until the end of 2020, and then 22% until the end of 2021. It applies to a taxpayer's principal and/or second residences, but not to a property that is rented out. There is no maximum cap on the credit, and the credit can be applied toward the Alternative Minimum Tax, and any excess credit (greater than that year's tax liability) can be rolled into the following year.[14][15]

NJ law provides new solar power installations with exemptions from the 6.625% state sales tax, and from any increase in property assessment (local property tax increases), subject to certain registration requirements.[16][17]

Renewable Portfolio Standard[edit]

New Jersey's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) is one of the most aggressive in the United States and requires each electricity supplier/provider to provide 22.5% from renewable energy sources by 2021. In addition, 2.12% must come from solar electricity, an amount estimated to be 1,500 megawatts (MW).[9] Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) must be purchased by electricity suppliers to meet the state targets or else they face a fine known as a Solar Alternative Compliance Payment (SACP) that was $0.691/kWh in 2010.[18] As New Jersey was approaching the minimum requirements, the requirements were accelerated on July 23, 2012, changing the shape of the compliance curve from slowly increasing at first to rapidly increasing at first.[9]

By the end of April 2019, 2,909,156 kW of solar had been installed and an additional 640,869 kW was planned.[19]

Total Photovoltaics[20][21][22][23][24]
Year Total installed solar power (MWp)

Solar Renewable Energy Certificates[edit]

In 2004, New Jersey adopted a program promoting the use of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) to meet the solar energy carve-out of the state RPS. In the 2011 Energy Year, 306,000 SRECs (or MWhs of solar electricity) must be purchased by electricity suppliers in the state in order to meet the state solar requirement. That requirement grows to over 5 million in 2026.[25]

An SREC program is an alternative to the feed-in tariff model popular in Europe. The key difference between the two models is the market-based mechanism that drives the value of the SRECs, and therefore the value of the subsidy for solar. In a feed-in tariff model, the government sets the value for the electricity produced by a solar facility. If the level is too high, too much solar power is built and the program is more costly. If the feed-in tariff is set too low, not enough solar power is built and the program is ineffective.

The SREC program allows for the creation of a certificate with every megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity produced. The certificate represents the "solar" aspect of the electricity that is produced and can be unbundled and sold separately from the electricity itself. Electricity companies, known as load-serving entities, are required by state RPS laws to procure a certain amount of their electricity from solar. Since it is often more costly for them to build solar farms themselves, the load-serving entities will purchase SRECs from solar generators and use the SRECs to comply with the state laws. With an SREC market, the value of an SREC is determined by supply and demand, subject to certain limitations. If solar is slow to develop, SREC values will remain high, encouraging the development of solar. If too much solar is added, SREC values will decrease, which in turn lowers the attractiveness of the investment. The goal of an SREC market is to find the SREC price that effectively represents the difference between the cost of producing other electricity and the cost of producing solar electricity. As the cost of solar electricity comes down, so will the value needed for SRECs. SRECs in New Jersey have traded as high as $680 per MWh.[26] In comparison, the average sale price for the electricity itself ranges from $50 per MWh to $180 per MWh. The value created from the benefits of selling SRECs dwarf the value created by the actual electricity produced in today's market. This means that SRECs play a major role in the return on investment for solar in New Jersey. The program was modified in the "solar rescue bill" to increase the value of the SRECs, which have declined in value by 92% but cap them at no more than $325.[27]

Solar 4 All project[edit]

Solar panels on PSE&G utility poles in South Brunswick

In 2009, Public Service Enterprise Group, the largest utility company in New Jersey, announced plans to install solar panels on 200,000 utility poles in its service area, the largest such project in the world.[28][29] The Solar 4 All project intends to increase the capacity for renewable energy in New Jersey by 120 MW and is expected to be completed in 2013.[30] In addition to 40 MW of pole mounted power,[31] PSEG is building four solar farms in Edison, Hamilton, Linden, and Trenton.[32] 40 MW is expected to come from customer installed projects. As of August 2012, the 40 MW of solar farms are 90% complete.[33]

Comparative capacity[edit]

US Grid Connected Photovoltaics Capacity (MWp)[34][35][36][37][38]
No Jurisdiction 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
1 California 5,183.4 2,559.3 1,563.6 1,021.7 768.0 528.3 328.8
2 Arizona 1,563.1 1,106.4 397.6 109.8 46.2 25.3 18.9
3 New Jersey 1,184.6 955.7 565.9 259.9 127.5 70.2 43.6
7 Colorado 360.4 299.6 196.7 121.1 59.1 35.7 14.6
9 New Mexico 256.6 203.4 165.5 43.3 2.4 1.0 0.5


New Jersey utility scale solar electric generation [39][40]

2017 NJ Solar Energy Generation Profile
2015 Monthly Profile of Solar for NJ[41]
Year Generation
(% of NJ total)
(% of USA Solar)
2010 21 <0.1% 1.7%
2011 69 0.1% 7%
2012 304 0.5% 7%
2013 437 0.7% 4.8%
2014 514 0.75% 2.9%
2015 628 0.8% 2.5%
2016 835 1.08% 2.3%
2017 926 1.22% 1.74%
2018* 1292 1.72% 1.94%
  • Preliminary Data from Electric Power Monthly

Beginning with the 2014 data year, the Energy Information Administration has estimated distributed solar photovoltaic generation and distributed solar photovoltaic capacity. These non-utility scale estimates project that New Jersey, generated the following additional solar energy.

Estimated Distributed Solar Electric Generation in New Jersey[42][43]
Year Summer capacity (MW) Generation (GWh)
2014 1,106
2015 1,026.4 1,435
2016 1,058.2 1,385
2017 1,285.6 1,660
2018 1,490.9 1,927


In March 2015 Six Flags Great Adventure announced its plans to clear more than 18,000 trees to build a 90-acre solar farm with 21.9 megawatts capable of meeting virtually all of the theme park's electrical needs.[44][45][46] Solar facilities are concentrated in the Central Jersey.[47] As of June 2014 the largest solar farms and photovoltaic arrays by megawatts in the state were:[48]

Name Location Coords. Commissioned Capacity Size Notes
Six Flags Solar Jackson 2019 23.5 megawatts 60,000 PV modules - ground mount and carports KDC Solar
DSM Solar Belvidere 2019 20.2 megawatts 62,000 PV modules DSM North America
Tinton Falls Solar Farm Tinton Falls 2012 19.9 megawatts
85,000 panels
Zongyi Solar Energy (America)
Pilesgrove Solar Farm Pilesgrove Township 2011 19.9 megawatts 100 acres (40.5 ha)
71,000 panels
Panda Power Funds
Con Edison
McGraw-Hill Companies[49] East Windsor 2012 14.1 megawatts 50 acres (20.2 ha) private corporate complex
Berry Plastics Phillipsburg 13.15 megawatts 50,688 ground-mounted panels private manufacturing complex
Frenchtown Solar III[50] Kingwood Township 13.2 megawatts 50 acres (20.2 ha)
33, 300 panels
French Solar 1 & Fenchtown Solar II nearby
Consolidated Edison
New Jersey Oak Solar[51] Fairfield Township 2012 12.5 megawatts 100 acres (40.5 ha)
53,000 panels
Lincoln Renewable
Atlantic City Electric (customer)
Seashore Solar Egg Harbor 2016 10.66 megawatts 46 acres KDC Solar
Branchburg Solar Branchburg 2014 9.95 megawatts 48 acres KDC Solar
Flemington Solar Raritan Township 9.36 megawatts 33,500 ground-mounted panels Consolidated Edison
Holt Logistics
Gloucester Terminal[52]
Gloucester City 2012 9 megawatt 27,528 panels Private refrigerated warehouse, one of the largest rooftop solar installations in the US[53]
Mercer County Community College West Windsor 8.25 megawatts 43 acres (17.4 ha) campus
US Foods Perth Amboy 8.135 megawatts Private rooftop panels on refrigerated warehouse

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ Net Metering Archived 2012-10-21 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Solar Industry Research Data". Solar Energy Industries Association. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  4. ^ Secondary U.S. Markets For Solar Power Are Continuing to Grow Archived 2011-06-23 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Solar State By State". Solar Energy Industries Association. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  6. ^ "Live monitoring". Enphase. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  7. ^ "The Solar Power World Top 250: The Top Solar Contractors In New Jersey". October 2013. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  8. ^ Report: States Falling Short on Interconnection and Net Metering Archived 2008-05-15 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b c "New Jersey Passes Legislation to Stabilize Its Solar Market - SEIA". SEIA. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
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  12. ^ Renewable Energy Incentive Program: Customer Sited Incentives "There no longer are incentives for solar installations"
  13. ^ "Renewable Energy". State of NJ. Retrieved April 29, 2016. "solar projects are no longer eligible for rebates"
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  17. ^ "Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Systems". DSIRE. NC Clean Energy Technology Center. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  18. ^ NJ Board of Public Utilities - Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) Archived 2008-05-13 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Solar Installation Projects Archived 2012-05-12 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Solar Installation Projects Archived 2009-03-04 at the Wayback Machine
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  22. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2014). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2013" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2014-09-26.
  23. ^ "NJ's Clean Energy Program Installation and Project Status Reports". www.njcleanenergy.con. April 2019. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  24. ^ New Jersey Solar
  25. ^ Inc., SRECTrade. "SRECTrade - SREC Markets - New Jersey - NJ". Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  26. ^ Inc., SRECTrade. "SRECTrade - Home". Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  27. ^ Forand, Rebecca (December 18, 2012). "N.J. solar market struggling from oversaturation". South Jersey Times. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  28. ^ "PSE&G plans $773M for solar panels on 200K utility poles". The Star-Ledger. February 10, 2009. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
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  40. ^ "Electricity Data Browser" [2] retrieved 2019-3-24
  41. ^ "Electric Power Monthly" [3] retrieved 2016-3-10
  42. ^ “Electric Power Monthly”[4] |title=Electric Power Monthly (February 2019 with data for December 2018) - Table 6.2.B. Net Summer Capacity using Primarily Renewable Sources retrieved 2019 3 19
  43. ^ “Electric Power Monthly”[5] |title=Electric Power Monthly (February 2019 with data for December 2018) - Table 1.17.B. Net Generation from Solar Photovoltaic retrieved 2019 3 19
  44. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-10. Retrieved 2015-04-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  45. ^ Mullen, Shannon (March 27, 2015). Asbury Park Press Retrieved 2015-03-27. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  46. ^ "Six Flags to Build New Jersey's Largest Solar Farm and Become First Theme Park to Be Entirely Self-Powered". 28 March 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
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  49. ^ "Solar energy project at McGraw-Hill site recently completed". Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  50. ^ "Frenchtown Solar III". Con Ed Development. Archived from the original on 2014-12-30. Retrieved 2014-12-30.
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External links[edit]