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New Jersey solar energy installations reached record numbers in June

solarpanels072511_optOver 10,000 solar arrays now exist statewide

New Jersey set new single-month record for installed solar capacity and number of installations in June, the state Department of Environmental Protection announced on Monday.

The activity brings the state's installed solar capacity to more than 380 MW generated from over 10,000 solar arrays statewide, something the DEP maintains is a new milestone.

"Reaching 10,000 solar installations in New Jersey demonstrates this administration's commitment to continue to promote and expand the state's solar industry and is a critical element of our long-term energy strategy," Gov. Chris Christie said in a statement. "This ground-breaking achievement is the latest example of New Jersey's leadership as one of the largest and fastest growing solar energy markets in the United States."

New Jersey is second in the nation in both installed solar capacity and number of installations, the DEP said. Only California has more. As of June 30, New Jersey has 10,086 solar energy array projects installed across the state providing over 380 MW of installed capacity, due in large part to the state's Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) Registration Program.

During June, 520 solar projects totaling over 40 MW of capacity were installed, representing the most projects and the largest amount of solar capacity installed in one month.

Recent projects include the largest rooftop solar array in the country at the Gloucester Marine Terminal with its over 9MW and 27,528 photovoltaic rooftop panels covering 1.1 million square feet as well as Avidan Management's installation of 17,745 solar panels, which will represent 4.26 MW of solar capacity at its company-owned facility in Edison. The 4.26 MW system will produce more than 5 million kilowatt hours annually and is expected to reduce carbon emissions of approximately 3,750 tons yearly.

"Solar energy is more than just a form of clean distributed generation,” state Public Utilities President Lee A. Solomon said. “These projects provide an opportunity for the involved business to improve its bottom line and grow in New Jersey, stimulating economic development."

Christie has called for increased solar projects on landfills and brownfields as an important element of his draft 2011 Energy Master Plan. Last year, he signed legislation exempting solar panels from certain land use restrictions, identifying solar energy developments as an environmentally important land use.

The state Meadowlands Commission recently began construction on a project to transform a closed landfill into a productive solar farm that will generate up to 3 megawatts of electricity. The solar installation project at the 1A Landfill in Kearny is a joint effort between the commission, SunDurance Energy and Public Service Electric & Gas Co. The grid-connected solar installation will feature 12,506 solar panels mounted on 13 acres atop the 35-acre landfill.

In June, the commission leased the 13 acres to SunDurance Energy, which will build the solar array. PSE&G will purchase the solar farm just prior to completion and take over the lease from SunDurance. The utility will own and operate the facility as part of its Solar 4 All program. The solar farm is expected to be placed in service during the fourth quarter of 2011. Installation of solar panels is expected to begin later this summer.

In addition to its solar landfill project, this year the commission will construct a solar canopy over its administration building parking lot. The canopy will generate approximately 20 percent of the electricity needs of the headquarters.

New Jersey had one of the strongest growth markets for solar energy installations in 2010 and in the first quarter of 2011. For the first quarter of 2011, New Jersey installed 42 MW of solar, representing 49 percent growth over first quarter 2010. The state has primarily become a market for non-residential projects over 100 kW and most growth over the past few quarters has been in larger projects over 1 MW. In addition, New Jersey has the nation's most robust and mature SREC market, along with the best availability for long-term SREC contracts, which make project financing much easier to obtain.

"Solar energy, along with clean, in-state power generation from offshore wind, natural gas and nuclear, and new technologies such as alternatively fueled vehicles is a key component of a greener, more affordable vision for New Jersey's energy future," DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said. "The draft 2011 Energy Master Plan reinforces the Christie administration's commitment to promoting solar where it makes both environmental and economic sense, expanding implementation of commercial and industrial solar projects."

Jeff Tittel, New Jersey Sierra Club director, is unimpressed with the solar energy statistics offered by the DEP.

“While the Christie administration is celebrating our latest achievement on solar energy, his administration is dismantling the programs that made this possible,” Tittel said. “New Jersey now has 10,000 solar arrays producing 380 MW of clean, renewable energy but Governor Christie’s energy policies are jeopardizing New Jersey’s continued clean energy leadership.

“Forty MW were installed in June showing we are exceeding the goals of the 2008 energy master plan. Governor Christie’s revised energy master plan abandons our state’s clean energy goals in favor of increased dependence on polluting fossil fuels,” Tittel said. “New Jersey was on track to meet the aggressive clean energy goals outlined in the 2008 energy master plan, but weakening these standards will cost the state green jobs and economic stability, critical pollution reductions, and energy independence.

Comments (5)
5 Monday, 22 August 2011 21:43
SREC Generators Coalition



A few months ago Flett Exchange LLC, who is one of the larger SREC traders in New Jersey, began predicting a solar crises in their newsletters suggesting that the SREC values were going to crash at the end of the energy year in May of 2011. They claimed that this was due to a projected over abundance of SRECs.

Suppliers/Providers of Electricity have a Solar Alternative Compliance Payment, (SACP), for the Energy year 2011-2012 of $658 for each credit they are short, of their Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS). The RPS (SREC) requirement for the 2011-2012 Energy Year is 442,000 "credits". For every credit (SREC) the Suppliers/Providers are short of the 442,000 at the end of the year, they will have to pay $658. If they can buy a credit from you or us for lets say $600, thats a great savings times 442,000!

Now if thats the case, why are SRECs selling right now for $176, and who is buying them? A few months ago when we began to recieve "newsletters" from the SREC "brokerage" houses predicting a "Glut" of SRECs in the 2011-2012 Energy Year. Flett Exchange LLC predicted as many as a possible 150,000 SRECs in excess of the 442,000 RPS Requirement, (SRECs). But just recently an article from SREC Trade, another "Brokerage" group, predicted a shortfall of SREC production this Energy Year of approximately 100,000. Who do you believe?

We made a call to Flett Exchange LLC and asked them if they had made their predictions based on Registered Solar projects that are on line and currently reporting generation, (this information would be hard facts), or applications for proposed projects to come on line this Energy Year, that are in the "que", waiting approvals, pending financing, or any other "process" issues that may result in the project never being built? A sizeable number of projects that are applied for are cancelled for a myriad of reasons. Flett's response was "both" which suggests to us that numbers in the predictions have no basis for SREC values to plummet to $175 from $600 the month before. The only up side to all of these predictions will be for the early broker/traders who are currently buying low and will be selling high later on in the year when the "generators" wake up and realize they may have been "duped", and it will be too late by then.

These overproduction predictions have obviously caused a panic with the early 2012 SREC sellers. We're not sure why? Are the sellers afraid they won't be able to sell them later on in the year? You can hold your SRECs for 3 years. Our best guess is, the installers used the high-value SRECs as a sales tool which served as an incentive to Solar buyers to make the investment, claiming the value was in direct corellation with the compliance penalty payment. This made sense to the buyers, who based their financial planning on that premise. The crash in the SREC values has created a financial crises for a lot of the Solar customers who don't have the resources to hold out for higher prices and are forced to sell at any price to maintain some type of cash flow to service their "solar investment debt". We also believe there may be public entities, and the like, that aren't relying on the SREC sales to pay a debt service on the installation.

The trade speculators, are going to make a killing later on in the year when there may not be over production and the value of SRECs returns to a number that is in a closer relationship to the compliance penalty rate. All of these SRECs that are being purchased at this time for $200 and less will be back up in the $590 or better range.

It's time for we the generators to take control of our SREC values, instead of the speculators. We need to set a "floor", that is a bottom price, that we will offer our SRECs for sale. We suggest a floor of 10% below the SACP, which for this Energy Year is $658, that will set our "floor" price at $592! There are rumors that there are Legislators considering this approach to stabilize the market, but we believe the generators out there can't wait for the Legislators and we can do this on our own! When you list to sell your SRECs, list no lower than $592, if you have already listed 2012 SRECs for sale, go back and change your price to no lower than $592! If there is an over production this energy year, let the prices adjust themselves at the end of the year when we know what the true numbers are, not the speculation numbers. Every generator needs to do this.....the holdouts can only hurt all of us.......!!!!

So spread the word, tell your friends, blog, tweet, and get the word out. The SREC generators are taking back control!

SREC Generators Coalition, you can e-mail us with questions or comments at
4 Tuesday, 26 July 2011 09:11
NJ's total power capacity is about 19,000 MW so 380 MW would represent about 2% of the total. However, that is peak generation rather than usage.

NJ consumption is about 64 TWh per year. How many Wh are generated by the 380 MW of installed solar in NJ depends alot on siting, whether the panels track the Sun, et cetera. It could be anywhere from about 0.4 TWh to 0.9 TWh. Thus, we are most likely talking about ~1% of annual usage.

However, given an installation rate of 40 MW per month (which assumes the exponential growth in installation rate suddenly stops) that'd be an increase of about 1% of total usage per year. If the installation rate continues to increase then the goal of 22.5% (or 30% before Christie changed it) from ALL renewables (not just solar) by 2020 seems plausible.
3 Tuesday, 26 July 2011 05:25
It looks like cooler solar panels are also in the news recently in the aim to reduce AC usage by cooling down buildings by using the new commercial solar panels, whilst also providing your usual electricity, light, and hot water.
2 Monday, 25 July 2011 23:50
Rich Lopez
That's a lot of SRECs!!!
1 Monday, 25 July 2011 17:57
jon sedlak
What percentage of electrical usage is the 380MW? I calculate about 3%.

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