Green Business: NJ Leads Nation in Solar Installs

So what are we to make of this?

Amid feverish Trenton negotiations that the solar sky is falling, NJ’s first-quarter 2012 solar installation numbers look great.

As in leading-the-nation great.

Via the 1Q2012  Solar Energy Industries Association website and Report: (click for bigger)

1Q2012 U.S. Solar Installs

 

As usual, Tom Johnson does a stellar job of framing the issues and laying out competing stakeholder viewpoints.

Via NJSpotlight.com:

Solar In NJ Not So Dim After All, As Installations Boom
More than 18,000 solar systems came on line in the first three months of the year, the report said, or a total of 506 megawatts in the U.S. It marked the second highest quarter ever in the U.S., according to the study.

New Jersey installed a total of 174 megawatts of solar systems in the first quarter of 2012, or nearly one-third of the total arrays put in across the country, according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight, a publication put out by the Solar Energy Industries Association, an industry trade group.

All right then, so how does this party square with plummeting SREC prices?

Two things.

One, the 1Q2012 installs represent the fulfillment of 2011 orders and long-term contracts.

And two:

Costs to install solar continue to drop, falling by an overall average of 17.2 percent nationwide, although solar executives said the decline in New Jersey is more in the range of 30 percent because of the intense competition here.

Demand is driving innovation, which should be music to the ears of legislators on both sides of the aisle.

Green Government: Update on Stabilizing Solar Sector for NJ

Pony up for a stable, strong solar sector in NJ.

With tax subsidies.

That’s essentially the gist of the conversation in Trenton right now.

It’s pretty clear that the sector will collapse without financial support from taxpayers.

The question is, how much?

And will that cost be worth it?

Here’s a solid round-up of the issues and major players:

Via AsburyParkPress.com:

Solar Subsidies Raise Questions

Proponents say it’s a worthwhile tradeoff, noting solar energy has the promise of meeting a reasonable balance of environmental, reliability and economic objectives.

The Governor is aligned with major industry players who say that supporting solar subsidies is the right move now.

Pay a little bit now, get a lot of jobs and future revenues later.

Opponents claim that it’s time to stop propping up solar and let market forces (aka “survival of the fittest”) decide.

I’d be down with the let-the-market-decide if it were a level playing field.

It’s not.

Oil enjoys tremendous government subsidies. The thing is, we’ve all gotten so used to it that we forget to account for it in the math.

Here’s a nifty infographic on what oil and solar would look like with comparable support.

Via Ecopreneurist.com:

What if Solar Power Had Fossil-Fuel like Subsidies?

Governor Christie knows that too many people have skin in the solar sector to let it go down.

For once, I’m in agreement.