So is NJ solar in better shape now, or not?
On July 23, Governor Christie signed a solar-saving bill that will prop up New Jersey’s solar industry.
It took a lot longer than expected, but a much-debated bill to maintain and potentially enhance New Jersey’s efforts to develop solar energy in the state was signed into law yesterday by Gov. Chris Christie.
The bill (S-1925), a priority of the Christie administration with bipartisan support in the Legislature for more than six months, aims to ensure investments in solar do not dry up in New Jersey, which is second only to California in the number of solar arrays –with 16,000 systems installed here.
But in the same breath, the Christie administration announced plans to slash the funds that help businesses and NJ homeowners buy into the solar market.
The state is considering cutting its funding for new energy efficiency and renewable energy projects almost in half, a consequence of the Legislature’s and Christie administration’s decision to divert hundreds of millions of dollars from New Jersey’s clean energy program.
In a draft proposal circulated by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities last week, the budget for the clean energy program would allocate $339 million in new spending, a sharp reduction from the $651 million proposed by the agency last December.
The cuts are a result of the diversion of money raised from gas and electric customers to help homeowners and businesses find ways to reduce their energy use, and promote the development of cleaner sources of producing electricity, primarily solar and wind.
The clean energy fund has helped propel New Jersey to be a leader in promoting clean energy, a status underscored by the fact that is second only to California in the number of solar installations.
The cuts aren’t certain. Michael Winka, director of NJ’s Clean Energy Program is requesting stakeholders and citizen comments on the proposal.
I expect he’ll be getting a lot of mail in coming weeks.