New Jersey has consistently been number two in the United States in photovoltaic installations behind California, and the market for solar energy credits has been dropping. But now Governor Chris Christie signed a law on Monday that would help to revive the solar energy markets in the state.
The law will require utilities to buy more solar energy and move up their purchase process by about four years, according to renewableenergyworld.com. The time developers can hold on to their solar energy credits has been increased to five years from three.
The new measure also reduces the fees for utilities for not meeting the “solar alternative compliance payment” for buying solar energy. Solar development has been bigger than the demand in recent years. U.S. manufacturers Energy Conversion Devices, SpectraWatt, Evergreen Solar and Solyndra have filed for bankruptcy in the past year.
But gigaom.com reports that the solar market in the U.S. may install nearly 3.3 gigawatts of solar panels in 2012, up about 18 percent from previous forecasts. The first quarter of 2012 saw 506 megawatts of solar panels installed in the U.S., and New Jersey led the market with 174 megawatts in newly completed projects.
“Renewable energy not only helps meet our goals of increasing sustainability and protecting the environment, but can be an engine for economic growth and the creation of good-paying jobs for the people of our state,” Christie said, according to solarindustrymag.com. “The bill will help us remain a national leader in the solar energy industry.”
Still, people in the solar industry say more needs to be done. Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association vice president Lyle Rawlings said, "It is necessary now for the legislature, the administration and the Board of Public Utilities to take up the task of ensuring that the solar market does not return to severe oversupply in the near future.”