Community solar pilot program could create millions of dollars in economic benefit for New Jersey

A new report has been released that analyzes the potential economic impact New Jersey could expect from the recently passed community solar pilot program.
Community solar pilot program could create millions of dollars in economic benefit for New Jersey
Courtesy of Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA)

The study analyzes the economic impact of community solar and finds that a robust pilot program could create significant job and economic growth across the state. The report looked at the impact of a 450 MW community solar pilot program implemented over a three-year period, and found that New Jersey could expect the following economic benefits:

1,778 sustained full-time jobs during construction and an additional 41 sustained full time jobs associated with operations and maintenance.

$414.7 million in earnings for those employed.

$797.9 million in local economic benefits for the state, excepting local tax revenues.

$3.3 million from property tax revenues in the first year alone.

Governor Murphy and the New Jersey legislature recently passed legislation, enabling community solar, that requires the implementation of a three-year pilot program and the establishment of a permanent program after 36 months. 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. It 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.

The report was prepared by Vote Solar, a nonprofit organization working to lower solar costs and expand solar access across the US. They used the Jobs and Economic Impact (JEDI) Model developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to reasonably estimate the employment, earnings and economic impacts from the construction and operation of the solar energy facilities that could be expected if New Jersey adopts the minimum target of 450 MW over a three-year period. 450 MW has been recommended by many stakeholders as the minimum  size necessary to drive investment in the state’s clean energy sector, achieve economies of scale, ensure all New Jersey’s communities gain access to community solar, and meaningfully contribute to the state’s 2030 clean electricity requirements.

The report also analysed the costs associated with implementing a 450 MW program and found them to be negligible for customers - less than the cost of a postage stamp per month for New Jersey ratepayers.

Brandon Smithwood, policy director for the Coalition for Community Solar Access, stated that community solar is ready to scale and play a meaningful role in New Jersey’s overall energy mix. Industry stands ready to invest and create high quality clean energy jobs across the state and increase New Jerseyans access to clean, affordable solar energy.

“Now we need the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to act boldly and create programme rules that provide long-term policy certainty and a programme size that is robust enough to accomplish the programme’s stated objectives,” said Smithwood.

For additional information:

Vote Solar

Vote Solar report

Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA)

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