Is Community Solar in Jersey City Possible?: Updates on the State’s Community Solar Initiative

Is Community Solar in Jersey City Possible?: Updates on the State’s Community Solar Initiative

Learn more about New Jersey’s Community Solar Initiative!

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Community Solar: Ever heard of it?

In recent months there’s been some exciting conversations surrounding Community Solar in New Jersey.  Meetings at the NJBPU (New Jersey Bureau of Public Utilities) were held starting this past summer and have continued into the fall in order to plan the Community Solar Energy Pilot Program proposal for bringing more clean energy to New Jersey cities and towns.  This will move the state towards meeting goals set by the Clean Energy Act (A3723/S2314) signed by Governor Phil Murphy on May 23, 2018. In order for Jersey City to reach our own clean energy goal, which is 100% renewable energy by 2050, Community Solar will be an important piece to the puzzle.

But wait, what IS Community Solar?

Most people associate solar energy with installing solar panels on their own roofs. For the residents of Jersey City who rent, don’t have the ideal roof, or don’t have the funds to install panels, access to solar energy seems impossible. However, the conversation doesn’t need to end there. Community Solar offers access to the benefits of solar energy, without the financial and logistical burden of installing your own solar panels.

Essentially, a Community Solar project in Jersey City would allow residents to become subscribers of solar energy being harvested at a remote location. These locations would be built by utility companies like PSE&G, or a variety of solar installer companies, and could vary from the roofs of city government buildings, commercial building solar panel arrays, community center roofs, or new developments, among other available sites.  Additionally, Community Solar addresses environmental justice; the intersection of social justice and environmental sustainability. Not only does it allow clean energy access to low and median income residents, who are often disproportionately impacted by either the negative effects of fossil fuel energy extraction or use, but there are also financial incentives to the program for all parties involved. Keep an eye out for our next blog post for a deeper dive into the (somewhat complex) economics of community solar! Feel free to check out Energy Sage’s explanation of community solar as well.

To learn more about the NJBPU’s Community Solar Energy Pilot Program proposal, please visit the BPU’s website about the pilot program. We also encourage you to attend either one of the two public hearings on Thursday, November 8, 2018 to be held at the following location and times:

1:00 pm and 5:30 pm

Florio Forum

Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy

Rutgers University

33 Livingston Ave.

New Brunswick, NJ 08901

More questions? Or have questions you’d like us to pose at the meeting on your behalf? Email us at and

Kind regards,

The SJC Community Solar Team

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Get To Know Our SJC Green Drinks +ART Sponsors – Wed June 6th 2018 @ LITM, 6-9pm

We wanted to write a short post with some reference links about our sponsors, so you get to know more about the terrific work they are doing to make Jersey City greener and more resilient.  Some of their work is close to the ground with building projects they are working on locally and some of their work expands to statewide initiatives and development projects in other countries.

First, is Hoboken Brownstone Company, based in Hoboken but with a number of Jersey City projects under their belt.  As a community centric development company, HBC goes the extra mile to engage community stakeholders in their project initiatives far ahead of finalizing any plans they present to the Planning Board.  Principal George Vallone is also very active in statewide initiatives, having chaired the NJ Builders Association, a NJ Future Committee on Green Infrastructure (GI) which produced a NJ Developers’ Guide For GI and also recently, working with the US Green Building Council he introduced a new Resiliency Standard for Greener Buildings.


Second, JMA Jorge Mastropietro Atelier is both an architectural studio and development company, most recently completing the 54 Bright Street PASSIVE inspired project.  With offices in NYC and Buenos Aires Argentina, he resides in Jersey City with his family and has completed a number of JC projects with advanced energy efficiency, materials re-use and green infrastructure elements as the main of his structural designs.  More about his philosophy and approach here and recent write-up about 54 Bright Street here.

Lastly, as part of SJC’s Good Food Now! initiative, we have had the pleasure to come to know a number of urban farmers in Jersey City.  A new small business called Garden City Grown will be supplier of Mountain Mint garnish for fabulous concoction our hosts at LITM have developed as specialty green drink for the evening (Corgi Pembroke Gin, Art in the Age Sage, Midori Liqueur and Lemonade – yum!).  Jason Biegel has forged a start-up hydroponics operation in The Heights to supply small batch herbal garnishes for craft drinks at local bars.  New on his list is growing a crop of Thai Basil for the South House specialty drinks menu.

We’re very excited about this upcoming event and the opportunity to bring professionals from all walks, neighbors and artists together.  Sustainability is a cultural conversation and for that to take flight, folks need to meet each other and start talking about What Sustains Us?  Join us on Wednesday evening June 6th downtown at LITM, 6-9pm, for some relaxed conversation -  let’s get to know one another 😊

@LITMJC  @HobokenbrownstoneCo  @jorgemastropietroatelier  @gardencitygrown #LITMJC  #SustainableJC  #SJCGreenDrinks +ART  #Sustainable  #JersecyCity  #HomeGrown

Read both our Mission Statement & Charter (sign-on!) And complete the updated Welcome Survey


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Earth Day 2018 Message - Become a Green Building Ambassador for Jersey City !

Dear Friends and Supporters of Sustainable JC,

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report

We write today to make two distinct requests of you, each related to a separate event we are hosting.

The first is a seven session Building Operators Certification course, and in this we ask that you help us spread the word to building operators and leasing management personnel.

The second is an event intended to build a deeper awareness of Passive Building techniques.

We ask that you each become Green Building Ambassadors, by promoting the first and attending the second.

a) Building Operators Certification course -  SJC has partnered with National Sustainable Structures Center (NSSC) to bring a Certification program for Building Operators and Management personnel, intended to make facilities more energy-efficient and sustainable.

This hands-on course, with 7 in-depth building systems classes, requires participants to work on real-world projects based on best practices designed to reduce energy and water use, and to benchmark buildings using the US EPA Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool. All this translates into substantial cost savings for you, whether you are building owners, managers, or renters.

Spread the word to your building operators and leasing management companies, encouraging them to enroll and take advantage of this opportunity right here in Jersey City. The course begins on the 1st of May, 2018. Click here to learn more.

b) Passive Buildings -  And, as part of the same initiative focused on Greener Buildings, SJC has partnered with New Jersey Passive House Team (NJPH) to build a deeper awareness of Passive Building practices and to promote learning about how existing buildings can be affordably retrofit, in the New Jersey context.

Participate in this presentation & discussion at JC City Hall on Tuesday evening, the 1st of May, 2018, at 7 pm. Register here for this free event.

Learn more about NJPH team here and about Passive Buildings here, on Passipedia.

"Collectively as Architects and Developers, we have the ability to directly influence the built environment.  As buildings consume nearly half (47%) of the energy produced in the United States (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2012), designing them for energy efficiency, and to overall perform at a higher level, will greatly reduce the strain on our environment. I believe this is our obligation to the world.”  Jorge Mastropietro, RA, AIA, CPHD,Principal,                     j o r g e   m a s t r o p i e t r o   a r c h i t e c t s   a t e l i e r

Sustainable JC is the local Community Green Team for Jersey City.  We do educational advocacy and facilitate demonstration projects that create solutions to various environmental issues that matter to the public, and which impact us all socially and economically. 

If you would like to learn more about us, visit our website

Also, do fill in our SJC Welcome Survey to connect with us, help us learn what initiatives and projects are important to you, and what skill sets you would like to contribute or develop with us.

Sincerely, Sustainable JC Green Team

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Greener Buildings in Jersey City - Moss Mural Project Launches !

Greener Buildings in Jersey City - Moss Mural Project Launches Jersey City Developer hosts the first living wall at 54 Bright Street

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (April 18, 2017):  Local community organization Sustainable Jersey City (SJC), a collaborative network of green civic minded orgs and individuals, teamed up with Developer JMA Architects  Atelier,  owner Jorge Mastropietro, to provide this Moss Mural installation for his newest building in Jersey City, at 54 Bright Street.   The building will offer condo units for sale in late spring, and the building also features a green roof, one of the signature elements of JMA buildings.

“We need more Green Infrastructure in Jersey City and this is a fun way to merchandise that conversation.  The Moss Mural brings quality of life benefits to the community and was another opportunity to integrate our +ART initiative into the environmental projects we do – working with Amanda Levie and Joe Velez was awesome,” says SJC Founder Debra Italiano. “Goals of the project include encouraging more building owners to commission Moss Murals for their buildings, and also, to show how artist collaborations can be part of sustainability solutions for Jersey City.  We are open for business and would like to do many more of these. “

Green Infrastructure (GI) is sometimes a challenge in Jersey City, especially if it involves excavation.  By definition, GI includes rain gardens and bioswales, trees and smarter tree pits, green roofs and green walls.  GI is considered a strategic intervention for managing storm water for municipalities.  Working above ground to divert storm water from sewer systems, GI reduces the costs associated with expanding expensive underground solutions, which is good for tax payers!

In addition to helping to manage flood events, GI solutions cool buildings and offer habitat for wildlife.  GI is considered one of the best practices cities can implement to combat negative climate change impacts. As Jersey City runs out of open space and street excavation challenges (think utility and sewer lines) constrain the City’s ability to install more GI at street level, roof tops and walls present themselves as the next frontier for greening the City.

Jorge Mastropietro is an Argentinian born Architect / Developer, and his architectural designs reflect high standards for energy efficiency, onsite storm water management and a variety of green living features, including green roofs.  “I love this project as it is both aesthetically beautiful and it provides ecological benefits, which I am committed to in my work as a designer, and as a resident of Jersey City.

“This project has been a long time coming,” says Amanda Levie, who was eager to implement the concept.  “I had the idea 4 years ago to create something artistic that enriches our lives by offering some environmental benefit.  This is my dream in the making - creating a sustainable artistic movement and introducing this new living medium.  Working with SJC to do this project was a great opportunity to get this going in Jersey City.”

Joe Velez, the design artist for the project, shares his inspiration - "Over the course of my career, I've received many portrait and mural commissions. This moss mural was by far the most uniquely challenging project I've taken on. Learning how to work with this new medium made me feel more in tune with the ancients, who had only what was available in nature to produce their works."

We installed this in November and here are some Spring pics + photos of the process -

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