The rate of new solar installations in New Jersey has been dropping for over a year. This low build rate coupled with the increasing SREC demand put in place by legislation over a year ago is why SREC prices are up 100% from a year ago. Prices for new SRECs are currently in the $140s.
There were only 13 Mw of new solar installed in New Jersey for the month of November. This marks 6 months in a row of low installations. As we have mentioned before, a monthly build rate of 15 to 17Mw a month over the next few years will keep the New Jersey SREC market “balanced”. The average build rate for the last 6 months was only 11.6 Mw.
Why is there less new solar being built in NJ now?
The low build rates today can be attributed to the low SREC prices last year. The projects being turned on now were in the planning phases about a year ago. Since SREC prices were under $100 very few projects were financeable. We can expect the build rate to increase in the next 6 to 12 months because of the higher SREC prices that we are seeing now.
The amount of new solar is likely to increase next year.
There will be an increase of installations due to another round of EDC (Electric Distribution Company) fixed rate SREC solicitations next year. These solicitations shift SREC risk away from solar developers and onto the ratepayers. Since there is no financial risk these programs are guaranteed to be oversubscribed.
Over the next 3 years there will also be a number of large grid connect projects installed. These projects are typically 7Mw each and will produce thousands of SRECs a year. The solar legislation that passed in the summer of 2012 allowed for a limited amount of grid connect solar to be installed. A limit was passed on new grid connect solar to help prevent a quick oversupply like the one that led to a collapse 2 years ago.
Where are Prices going?
New Jersey SREC prices should stay stable going into the New Year. Many sellers have been attempting to sell at $150 and it appears that it may happen again soon. The trend is slightly higher; however, it will be limited as buyers are offered multi-year contracts by new solar installations. Most new solar can be installed with a 3 to 5 years price in the $140 range. This shift from spot markets to multi-year contracts should limit the ultimate upside of the spot SREC market.
The SREC market is still oversupplied for the current year; however, the new SREC requirements put into place by legislation are just starting to kick in. Electricity companies in New Jersey will need to procure over 1,400,000 SRECs going forward each year compared to only 770,000 last year. We recommend to sell SRECs on a continual basis, especially as prices move up. If you have a large facility (250kw or larger) we recommend that you lock into a long term contract as the prices rise. Flett Exchange brokers long term contracts for its customers directly with energy companies.
If you would like to sell any SRECs before the end of the year feel free to log on and sell or give us a call.
DISCLAIMER: This article contains forward looking statements. Actual market action could differ materially from those anticipated. Sellers of SRECs should do their own research. Actual SREC production may differ significantly from those estimates. The company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement.