New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed two new energy bills to significantly advance New Jersey’s clean energy economy. Signed into law on May 23rd, the legislature is intended to stabilize and grow New Jersey’s renewable energy sector, and extend the cost-saving benefits of solar to more families, communitiesand businesses throughout the Garden State.
As we have discussed in previous blogs, certain states have been asserting themselves as clean energy leaders due to policy choices and implementation. New Jersey's new legislation will create jobs, cut pollution, and set the state on a path to becoming a national clean energy leader. The bill will bolster the state’s clean energy economy and benefit NJ's citizens by implementing new renewable energy goals. The clean energy bill also includes requirements for new energy-efficiency standards, solar energy credits, a new ability for neighborhoods to invest in community solar energy projects.
States like California and New York currently hold the most impressive renewable energy portfolios. However, due to the push away from fossil fuels, many governors are committing to promoting policy to support a clean energy economy. New Jersey, a member of the U.S. Climate Alliance, is now committing to their pledge. Having made environmental issues a focus of both his campaign and his early tenure, Gov. Murphy has already signed many executive orders, including one that laid the groundwork for expanding offshore wind energy near Atlantic City. But now, it's solar's time to shine.
The central piece of legislation, Assembly Bill 3723, sets NJ's new renewable energy goal with emphasis on wind and solar energy, with a goal of 35% renewables by 2025 and eventually 50% by 2030. It also requires generators to source an increasing amount of their electricity from behind-the-meter solar, to reach 5.1% by 2021— the most ambitious target for distributed solar currently in place in the U.S.
In addition to renewable portfolio standards, the bill also schedules the closure of the state’s Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program in 2021 to be replaced by a more effective incentive policy. Also, a test run will be set forth for a more integrative community solar program with plans of full implementation within the next three years. Lastly, the bill sets a target for the state to reach 600 MW of energy storage by 2021 and 2 GW by 2030. In previous blogs, we have discussed the necessity of energy storage for solar development. Overall, this comprehensive bill includes the necessary elements to increase NJ's already operating solar industry.
Although the legislature is new, the Garden State's interest in solar is not. Even four years ago, in 2014, NJ was ranked on SEIA's top 10 "Solar States". Following these commitments made in Bill 3723, New Jersey could be on its way to becoming a national clean energy and solar leader. With a population of over 9 million and one of the largest U.S.state economies, there is no doubt that this legislature will be impactful beyond NJ's state border.