Of all U.S. states, perhaps none epitomizes the wild swings in solar markets as does New Jersey. As recently as 2012 New Jersey was the third-largest solar market in the United States based on its renewable energy mandate and strong solar renewable energy credit (SREC) prices. However the state was outpaced by other markets as SREC prices crashed, with installation volumes falling by 44% from 2012 to 2013.
In the process, New Jersey became something of a case study of why SREC systems with no or inadequate price floors are bad policy design.
New Jersey’s market swung back in 2016, as SREC prices recovered, with over 400 MW installed. Such recovery took place across all sectors, with 176 MW of solar installed in the residential sector alone.
In the first five months of 2017 New Jersey’s market may again on a downswing, according to preliminary data from the state’s Board of Public Utilities (NJ BPU). According to this data New Jersey’s solar market volumes may have fallen by as much as a third from the first five months of 2016, as NJ BPU records only 113 MW installed.
However, NJ BPU emphasizes that these are only preliminary numbers, and will be updated over the next three or four months. As such, the organization states that by the time September arrives, the decline in market volumes is expected to be 15% at most.
This may be due to greater stability in SREC prices, which fell from a height of around $270 in mid-2017 but have remained above $200 so far this year.
Correction: This article and its headline have been updated as we had mistakenly reported preliminary market statistics as final statistics. After speaking with NJ BPU we have changed our analysis, and the article accordingly. We regret the error.