Thousands of New Jersey residents expressed strong approval for bills leading up to today’s key vote
TRENTON, NJ – To clean energy advocates and the solar industry’s delight, New Jersey lawmakers approved companion bills today that will significantly advance New Jersey’s clean energy economy. The Assembly passed A3723 (50-20) and the Senate passed S2314 (29-8). The bills will stabilize and expand New Jersey’s renewable market and help extend the cost-saving benefits of solar to more families, communities and businesses in the state.
Vote Solar, Earthjustice, the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Sunrun have been strong advocates for the legislation to grow New Jersey’s renewable development, maintain more than 7,100 solar industry jobs, and expand the benefits of clean energy to more residents. In recent weeks, lawmakers also heard from thousands of New Jersey voters and residents calling for support of today’s legislation.
The legislation will stabilize the solar market through 2021 by increasing the solar target, closing the current solar renewable energy credit trading program in an orderly way, reducing the overall cost of the current solar Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by lowering the Solar Alternative Compliance Payment, and setting in motion a process for considering the next generation of solar incentives in the Garden State. The bill also increases the overall RPS to 50 percent by 2030, and will enable a community solar program, which will ensure that all New Jerseyans have access to solar energy. The community solar program will give consideration to residential customers, especially in multifamily buildings, and low-to-moderate income customers.
Following are statements from solar advocates and industry representatives:
“Today’s leadership marks a new chapter in New Jersey’s clean energy future,” said Pari Kasotia, Mid-Atlantic Director for Vote Solar. “These bills will give residents and businesses access to clean energy choices, spur jobs and local investments, and help build healthier communities. We thank lawmakers for their tremendous leadership and look to Governor Murphy to carry today’s legislation across the finish line. We hope New Jersey will serve as a guidepost for other states to set ambitious clean energy policies and work toward a brighter future.”
“We are encouraged by the passage of this legislation that authorizes a community solar program in New Jersey,” said Luis Torres, Senior Legislative Representative for Earthjustice. “All New Jersey residents, including low to moderate income customers, should be able to access the benefits of solar – including the job opportunities, energy savings, and credits. If done right, a strong community solar program can be a transformational tool to help expand solar access in an intentionally equitable way to communities that have long been underserved. Earthjustice looks forward to working with our coalition partners to ensure that the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities heeds the call of this legislation, once it is signed into law, to ensure that low to moderate income families are robustly served by community solar projects.”
“The New Jersey legislature took a major step today toward protecting thousands of solar jobs that were at risk,” said Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs. “This bill will enable many more New Jersey residents, businesses and communities to access solar energy. We urge Gov. Murphy to swiftly sign the bill into law and get the state on a path to meet its ambitious clean energy goals.”
“Today’s vote by the New Jersey Legislature is an important milestone toward ensuring all residents of New Jersey can access the financial and environmental benefits of solar energy through the establishment of a community solar program,” said Brandon Smithwood, policy director for Coalition for Community Solar Access. “We urge Governor Murphy to sign this important legislation into law, and look forward to working with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to ensure it is properly implemented and becomes a win-win-win for all energy customers, the grid, and the environment.”
“With this vote, lawmakers have reinforced New Jersey’s position as a solar leader,” said Anne Hoskins, Chief Policy Officer of Sunrun. “New Jersey is paving the way for a future where citizens can create, store, and share solar power with their neighbors and make our energy system more affordable, clean, and reliable for the whole community.”
About Vote Solar: Since 2002, Vote Solar has been working to lower solar costs and expand solar access. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Vote Solar advocates for state policies and programs needed to repower our electric grid with clean energy. Learn more at www.votesolar.org
About Earthjustice: Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer. Learn more at www.earthjustice.org
Celebrating its 44th anniversary in 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry, which now employs more than 250,000 Americans. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to build jobs and diversity, champion the use of cost-competitive solar in America, remove market barriers and educate the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.
Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) is a national Coalition of businesses and non-profits working to expand customer choice and access to solar to all American households and businesses through community solar. Community solar refers to local solar facilities shared by multiple community subscribers who receive credits on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced. Community solar provides homeowners, renters, and businesses equal access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy generation regardless of the physical attributes or ownership of their home or business. Community solar expands access to solar for all, including low-to-moderate income customers, all while building a stronger, distributed, and more resilient electric grid. For more information, visit our website at www.communitysolaraccess.org, follow us on Twitter at @solaraccess and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/communitysolaraccess.