Trenton, NJ — The New Jersey State Senate Environment and Energy Committee has approved legislation that would make critical changes to upgrade the state’s energy infrastructure. Sponsored by Senator Bob Smith (District 17), S431 – Interconnection Standards, was passed out of committee with wide support last week. The bill would streamline the process by which clean energy projects are connected to the grid and allow for improved long-term planning. A statement from Leslie Elder, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for Coalition for Community Solar Access, follows:
“We applaud Senator Smith for his leadership on an issue critical to the success of New Jersey’s clean energy future, and commend the Environment and Energy Committee for acting to ensure New Jerseyans will more readily benefit from the consumer savings, economic development and clean energy equity that community solar projects deliver.
S431 provides a pathway to achieve several policy objectives within New Jersey’s renewable portfolio standards and ensure the state remains on track to achieve the goals in the state’s Energy Master Plan. Senator Smith’s S431 is simple and allows for a more efficient overall allocation of investments and better utilization of grid assets, including the use of pre-applications for interconnection to ensure all community solar projects can be evaluated by the state, the utilities, and the community solar industry prior to applying for the program. Leveraging local solar will help New Jersey achieve its unique energy demands and avoid costly distribution system investments.
Most importantly, S431 will allow for community solar projects to connect to the grid more effectively and efficiently and provide guaranteed savings on participating customer’s electric bills. More than 50% of the program is dedicated to serving low-to-moderate income customers, ensuring these residents can save money on their energy needs at a time when they need it the most.”