New Jersey Switches from Solar Rebates to Certificates
by Rachel Navaro
In December 2007, New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) announced that the state would be suspending its solar rebate program—one of the nation’s most vigorous—and replacing it with one based on solar renewable energy certificates (RECs), tradable credits that represent the environmental attributes of the solar electricity.BPU made the policy switch because of overwhelming demand for the state’s generous solar rebates, creating (since early 2006) queues for rebate funding. BPU has ordered rebates to be phased out entirely by May 31, 2012, and limited to small projects until then. The new REC program facilitates the sale of certificates to the electricity suppliers who, under New Jersey’s renewable portfolio standard are required to invest in a minimum amount of renewable energy; by 2009, that amount will be the equivalent of 90 MW, or enough to power 8,000 homes.Any of New Jersey’s solar photovoltaic owners with grid-connected generators are eligible to participate in the REC program. More information is at srec.njcleanenergy.com.