New JerseyWhile New Jersey might not seem like the most likely geographic location for solar installations, the state's aggressive incentive and rebate programs made it the second strongest state in the country for solar installation in 2011. Thousands of homeowners called their New Jersey solar installer to get started last year and the pace doesn't seem to be slowing much in 2012.

New Jersey waives sales tax for solar panels, reduces property tax, provides rebates and offers production incentives to commercial and residential properties that purchase renewable energy systems. The financial incentives range from $100 to thousands, depending on the system and the program.

The state was one of the first to enact a renewable energy portfolio standard. Utility companies are required to get 20.38 percent of their power from Class I and II renewable energy sources by 2021 and 4.1 percent from solar sources by 2028.

To ease pressure on utilities that will have more difficulty achieving the required mix of renewable power generation, New Jersey also developed a Solar Renewable Energy Certificate Registration program that allows utilities whose production portfolio does not meet the mandate to certificates from renewable energy producers to offset their non-renewable production.

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