New Jersey Solar Bill Falls Apart in Negotiations

The much anticipated solar legislation (s-2371) failed to be posted during the last day of the New Jersey Legislature. The main intention of this legislation was to increase the amount of SRECs that the power companies in New Jersey have to purchase. This is needed to soak up the excess amount of SRECs because developers installed 3 times more than the amount of solar required in the present year due to dropping installed costs of solar and large solar installations. If the legislation is not passed it is expected that the SREC market will continue its crash and the amount of installations will have to virtually cease for the next few years before the State mandates catch up. Investors in solar will suffer from low SREC prices and solar business in New Jersey may have to close down.

The bill would have also lowered fine levels levied against power companies if they did not produce a certain amount of solar power each year. The potential savings to homeowners, municipalities and business’ would have been close to 1 billion dollars over the course of the legislation if it was passed.

The bill was introduced by the Democratic controlled legislature, sponsored by Senator Bob Smith.  The Republican Governors office submitted responses on Sunday for the legislature to consider. The Governors office supported an increase in the RPS to stabilize the market. The deal fell apart because of a disagreement of how to handle grid connected projects. The Christie administration suggested having all non-net metered projects seek Board of Public Utility BPU approval. These projects would not be approved if they would have a detrimental effect on the SREC market. The issue was too complicated to be resolved in the short amount of time left in the last day of the legislative session.

The bill will have to be introduced in the next legislative session.

The SREC market has dropped instantly to $200.

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