New Jersey’s Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) is poised to request the state’s regulators to approve as much as $883 million of additional investment to expand its solar power programs, according to a Reuters report.
Approval would result in Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), PSE&G’s parent company, being able to add an overall total of roughly 395 MW of solar power capacity to the mid-Atlantic state’s increasingly clean and renewable energy mix. PSEG has already committed $700 million of capital to develop solar power capacity in New Jersey.
Possible huge boost to NJ solar
Solar energy systems, far and away, are the largest source of clean, renewable energy in New Jersey. As of June 30, 16,715 solar PV systems with a total capacity of 831.6 MW had been installed by NJ homes and businesses, according to the state’s Office of Clean Energy. That’s more than 95 percent of the total 873.53 MW of clean, renewable energy installed in the state as of June 30.
The huge additional investment by PSE&G, if approved, will enable the electric utility to develop an additional 233 MW of solar power capacity in the state, PSEG executive vice president Caroline Dorsa stated in the company’s 2Q earnings conference call, Reuters reported. In addition, investing the huge sum in New Jersey’s solar power market would create some 300 direct jobs per year over the next five years, she said.
PSE&G has invested $300 million to install 80 MW of solar power capacity in the state. Its current Solar-4-All program, which is due to be completed early next year, will have resulted in the creation of some 175 direct jobs each of the last three years.
As much as $690 million of the funds for which utility PSE&G’s seeking regulatory approval will be allocated to developing another 136 MW of solar power capacity via its Solar-4-All program. As much as an additional $193 million would be used to develop another 97 MW of solar power capacity via a third installment of its solar loan program, according to Reuters’ report. As of mid-July, PSEG had made loans totaling $177 million via this program to help businesses and homeowners install 55 MW of solar power capacity.
State Renewable Portfolio Standards fuel solar, renewable energy growth
The largest state in the US, California continues to lead the country when it comes to installing solar power capacity. Ranking second is New Jersey, one of the smallest. While the contrasts between the two states go beyond geographic size and population, the enactment of state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) is credited with fueling rapid growth in solar PV installations in both.
Originally enacted in 2002, California’s RPS calls for 20 percent of utility’s retail electricity sales to come from renewable energy sources by year-end 2013, 25 percent by year-end 2016, and 33 percent by year-end 2020 and subsequent years. Yesterday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced that the state’s largest electric utilities have met state mandated interim renewable energy goals.
New Jersey’s RPS calls for electricity suppliers serving retail customers to obtain 22.5 percent of the electricity it sells from qualifying renewable energy sources by the end of NJ energy year 2021 (May 2021). A separate solar power “carve-out” requires them to obtain at least 4.1 percent of their electricity sales from qualifying solar electric generation sources by the end of Energy Year 2028.
Photo credit: Mark Lovretin/PSE&G