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New Jersey SREC Policy Will Change

First public comments solicited through February 22, 2019

Earlier in 2018, New Jersey’s Governor signed the Clean Energy Act. The Act requires the BPU to adopt new rules and regulations closing the SREC program to new applications when 5.1% of the electricity sold in New Jersey by each electric power supplier and each basic generation provider comes from solar electric sources. That day is predicted to be soon in the first quarter of 2019.

A modified program to meet the new goals of the Act will take time. So it is urgent for the state to enact an interim, or Solar Transition plan and to hear from constituents to appreciate the urgency.

How to Contact New Jersey BPU

You can email comments to [email protected] in PDF or Microsoft Word format.

Written comments can also be mailed to: Aida Camacho-Welch, Secretary, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Post Office Box 350, Trenton, New Jersey, 08625.

Key issues: The public should stress the need for a immediate stop gap Solar Transition plan. Exact Solar recommends:

➤ Follow the state of Massachusetts. Implement a similar SREC II program which extends the existing state SREC (SAEC in PA) program until the subsequent new plan formally begins.

➤ Maintain interim New Jersey SREC values at or near the current declining schedule.

To understand the history or and the details, read a summary below:

A Detailed Background on New Jersey SRECs

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) recently released a straw proposal {link} in response to the Governor’s signing of the Clean Energy Act. The Board’s mission is to keep the state’s solar energy industry vibrant in order to meet the Act’s goals of 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% by 2050. To do so, BPU promises a few key priorities:

Provide maximum benefit to ratepayers at the lowest cost.

Support the continued growth of the solar industry.

Provide insight and information to stakeholders through a transparent process for
developing the Solar Transition and Successor Program.

Exact Solar is directly participating and monitoring activities in order to provide expert and positive input to the developing new rules. As a stakeholder, the company is committed both to getting the best policies as well as keeping customers and our solar community advised and engaged.

About the Successor Program

The BPU timeline requires the usual public involvement and progressive cycling through versions of new regulations. This process includes a few milestones:

  • An end to the first round of public input – February 22, 2019
  • The board convenes again –  updates anticipated – February 27, 2019
  • Working groups discuss, amend, propose, and seek comments on various rules and regulation changes – through November, 2019
  • BPU amends and submits a final for public review – through February, 2020
  • The Board targets a final plan adoptionMarch, 2020

New Jersey residents will have multiple opportunities to provide feedback as this process moves forward through the milestones listed above. Follow this website to keep abreast of the progress and to look for opportunities to give input. stresses there is a need for immediate action. The BPU recognizes that a final program at the end of the first quarter in 2020 will not address more immediate needs after the SREC program reaches its current obligations. It has begun soliciting input for the Solar Transition program.

About the Solar Transition

Although the Act’s mandate requires policies looking far forward into the future, the capping of the current SREC program at 5.1% creates an urgent need for a interim plan as mentioned. The BPU’s Clean Energy Program is projecting the state is on the cusp of this limit already. This is complicated by large projects requiring longer design and development periods which may not go online for another year. However, their acceptance into the SREC program is an early step and impacts reaching the limit.

Every stakeholder realizes the dire need for a Successor Program. Without it, solar installers and developers have thousands of jobs on the line and uncertainty about of what kind of financial incentives they may receive puts some of those at risk.

As of the last public meeting in January of 2019, Exact Solar reports the following:

  1. The state is working towards announcing a specific cut off for the original SREC program based on the 5.1% milestone.
  2. This will define Legacy applicants and Legacy SRECs as those that filed an SRP Registration and entered operation prior to the time when the 5.1% threshold is reached.
  3. It will also establish Pipeline applicants and Pipeline SRECs as those that filed an SRP Registration, but which have not begun operation prior to the attainment of the 5.1% threshold.
  4. Any applications not in those categories will not be eligible for the original SRECs , and will be placed into this as yet undefined Solar Transition program.

As of this posting, the company stresses there is still uncertainty and expects some confusion for a short time to come. On the table are proposals to quickly identify this Solar Transition period to offer slightly reduced New Jersey SREC values – perhaps 75% or 80% of the current program. However, there is no understanding yet about capacity caps. Clearly, the program will only be in effect long enough to allow the state lawmakers and the BPU to finalize the full next generation Successor Program following the timeline noted above.

Everyone’s voice is needed to keep this one of the highest policy priorities in the state of New Jersey.

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