Public Service Electric and Gas parent PSEG said it planned to support solar projects in New Jersey with an additional $883 million. If the plan is approved the funds will allow the company to add in 233 megawatts of Garden State solar through expanding its Solar 4 All and solar loan programs.
Though the announcement came after N.J. Gov. Chris Christie signed new legislation into law expanding the amount of solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) New Jersey utilities must buy, the programs and plans were originated before the legislation was enacted according to PSEG spokesperson Mike Jennings. Gov. Christie and the legislature passed the legislation into law to shore up the failing SREC market in New Jersey.
“In the short term New Jersey has an oversupply of SRECs. That circumstance will likely change over time,” Jennings said. He pointed to the sunset of a federal tax credit is set expire at the end of the year and that N.J’s renewable portfolio standard doubles in 2014. “Which will greatly increase demand. None of SRECs from our loan proposal would be sold before 2016 and the projects we would develop would not start producing SRECs (in any volume) until 2016 and later,” he said.
Under the new proposal PSEG will invest the majority in its Solar 4 All program, which will invest $690 million to develop 136 megawatts of commercial-scale photovoltaics. The majority, 90 megawatts will be projects on landfills, brownfields and other underutilized properties. The rest will consist of 25 megawatts of solar installations on large parking lots and another 25 megawatts on warehouse rooftops, according to the company.
The funds will reinvigorate the company’s Solar Loan program with $193 million. That program will help homes and businesses finance photovoltaics on their properties. It’s the third installment of the program, the company said. The company will also initiate a 1 megawatt pilot program to test and demonstrate emerging technologies such as solar energy storage.
The new plan builds on the company’s previous investments in solar, just bigger, Jennings said. “Both of these proposals are larger than the existing programs—which are both 80 MWs, he said. In all, the investments are expected to create the equivalent of 300 full-time jobs over the next five years.