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
Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
The SJC Community Solar Team