New Jersey regulators adopt new net metering incentives

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The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities voted unanimously to implement a new solar incentive program that it said will enable up to 3,750 MW of new solar generation by 2026.

The Successor Solar Incentive Program (SuSI) was part of a nearly three-year process mandated by the Clean Energy Act of 2018 to replace the state’s Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) program with new incentives that encourage solar development while minimizing ratepayer cost.

The regulatory agency said that solar energy is expected to generate approximately 10% of New Jersey’s total electricity needs once the program is fully implemented.

The SuSI Program was approved on July 28 and will take effect on August 28. It contains two sub-programs.

The Administratively Determined Incentive (ADI): A fixed incentive payment for net metered solar projects of 5 MW or less, including all residential customers and most commercial and industrial buildings, and all community solar installations. The incentive value will vary based on project type and size, and will be guaranteed for 15 years.

The Competitive Solar Incentive (CSI): A competitive solicitation designed to incentivize the lowest financial contribution from ratepayers for grid supply projects and net metered commercial and industrial projects larger than 5 MW. The first competitive process is likely to launch by mid-2022.

The SuSI program’s approach is intended to lift solar market segments through tailored long-term incentives for a variety of project types. Regulators said this would allow them to contain program costs and provide financial certainty for market participants.

The program will provide one New Jersey Solar Renewable Energy Certificate-II (NJ SREC–II) for every megawatt-hour of solar electricity produced by a qualifying facility, with an additional $20/MWh for public entities such as school districts, municipalities, and public colleges and universities, as well as a temporary incentive for projects built on contaminated lands.

Incentive levels for the ADI Program range from $70-$120/SREC-II. Regulators said this would provide ongoing support for solar development while also offering “significant savings” over the prior SREC value of roughly $220.

Currently, NJBPU is evaluating 410 applications for Year 2 of its Community Solar Energy Pilot Program, and is examining the potential for dual-use solar facilities sited on agricultural lands under new legislation recently signed into law.

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