Believe it or Not, Solar is Getting Hot…In Minnesota? Yes, Minnesota

You might think that a northern state like Minnesota wouldn’t be a hot market for solar energy, but solar works great in northern and colder climates. To capture that solar potential, Minnesota recently enacted several policies and incentives to inspire more Minnesota businesses, municipalities, non-profits, and residents to install solar and reduce their energy costs.

You might think that a northern state like Minnesota wouldn’t be a hot market for solar energy, but solar works great in northern and colder climates. To capture that solar potential, Minnesota recently enacted several policies and incentives to inspire more Minnesota businesses, municipalities, non-profits, and residents to install solar and reduce their energy costs.

The main driver behind Minnesota’s solar push is the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires the state’s investor owned utilities to generate around 30% of their total retail electricity sales from wind, solar, and other renewable sources by 2020. On top of that, 10% of utility retail electric sales are required to come from solar by the year 2030.

To meet these goals, the state and its major utilities have created several programs targeting both large and small installations:

Growing Community Solar Gardens

Community solar gardens, sometimes known as “shared solar,” lets developers create large solar farms and allow individual “subscribers” to invest in a portion of the farm. By purchasing a subscription, each subscriber gets to offset their utility bill with their portion of the solar power generated by the solar installation.

The program is a huge benefit for those who have homes or businesses that can’t go solar because of shading issues, or because they lease their property, or because there are location or utility interconnection issues.

In a related opportunity, if you have a large plot of un-shaded land or large commercial rooftop and want to host a community solar garden, solar developers can lease your land or rooftop for a potential solar garden installation. (Contact RECfor more details.)

As for the incentive, solar garden subscribers receive a payment based on their solar power generated. Currently, Minnesota regulators have set an interim rate of about 12 cents kilowatt-hour (kWh), but that rate may be replaced when Minnesota’s Value of Solar Tariff (VOST) is set. (See below.)

Community solar gardens are truly meant to be shared, not subscribed by a single individual. Consequently, the law mandates that each solar garden have a minimum of 5 subscribers and that no single subscriber own more than 40% of an array.

Taking Advantage of the Extra Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive

In addition to the above incentives, small commercial, non-profit, and government solar installations up to 40 kW in size may receive an additional production incentive for 10 years when the installer uses officially designated “Made in Minnesota” solar panels. The annual payment will vary based solar production, the solar panel brand and model, and whether it’s a business or government or non-profit installation. Another requirement is that the solar installation has to be within the territories of Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, Alliant Energy, or Ottertail Power utilities.

Depending on the solar panel chosen, businesses can receive 13 to 18 cents/kWh, and non-profit and government entities can receive 20 cents to 27 cents/kWh generated.

As an example, a business that installs a 30 kW commercial solar array of Made in Minnesota certified modules and generates 42,516 kWh in the first year would be paid $5,527.07 (42,516 kWh x .13/kWh). If the panels produce the same number of kWh in each of the following 9 years, the business would receive a total of $55,270! For another Minnesota solar panel brand that qualifies for the 18 cents/kWh incentive rate, that payment could be $7,652 per year or $76,528 after 10 years!

While specific program details are still being worked out, it’s important for interested parties to get involved early to ensure they are ready once these programs go live; new solar incentives tend to reach capacity quickly.

Contact REC Solar to get more details about how these Minnesota solar programs specifically apply to your Minnesota business or organization.

 

Did You Hear? Solar is Being Installed on the White House … Again

After a three-year delay, an Obama administration official recently confirmed that a solar PV system with American-made solar panels are being installed on the White House. But did you know that this isn’t the first time that the White House has used some type of solar power? In fact, President Obama will be the third president to utilize solar energy.

After a three-year delay, an Obama administration official recently confirmed that a solar PV system with American-made solar panels are being installed on the White House. But did you know that this isn’t the first time that the White House has used some type of solar power? In fact, President Obama will be the third president to utilize solar energy.

Like consumers today, past presidents chose to install solar for economic reasons. For Jimmy Carter in the 1970’s, a solar hot water system was installed as an answer to the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, which gave the United States its first energy independence wake-up call. To make home heating oil less dependent on foreign oil imports, President Jimmy Carter led by example and installed the first solar hot water system on the White House.

At the ribbon cutting, Carter said, “There is no longer any question that solar energy is both feasible and also cost-effective… As energy costs increase, which is an almost inevitable prospect, that period for paying for this investment will be substantially reduced. Solar energy will not pollute our air or water. We will not run short of it. No one can ever embargo the Sun or interrupt its delivery to us. But we must work together to turn our vision and our dream into a solar reality.” Soon after, Congress passed solar incentives and many homeowners took advantage of the subsidies.

But when oil prices declined in the early 1980’s, President Reagan didn’t see the need to promote solar energy anymore, and he quietly took the panels down in 1986. They were later given to Unity College in Maine, where they heated water for the college’s cafeteria for 30 years.

Energy cost savings was once again the reason for solar being installed in 2003 during President George W. Bush’s first term. The National Parks Service, which is responsible for the White House grounds, wanted to save money on the cost of lighting the White House gardens and heating the White House swimming pool. While President Bush didn’t publicize the installation, the new set of solar hot water panels and a solar photovoltaic system are still on the grounds today.

Finally, after candidate Obama campaigned for solar and clean energy jobs, solar energy advocates called for President Obama to put solar back on top of the nation’s most famous residence in 2010.

At first, the administration seemed to be resistant to the idea, but when climate change advocate Bill McKibben brought one of Jimmy Carter’s retired solar hot water panels to the White House gates and asked that it be reinstalled, the Obama administration finally responded. About a week later, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that Yes, the President can…put solar back on the White House.

It took three years to start the installation, but finally the White House installation is happening.

Putting solar on the White House again is an important symbol. It shows the world that the leader of America is serious about clean energy and decreasing its use of polluting fossil fuels. Over time, it will also save taxpayers money on the mansion/office building’s electricity costs and serve to educate Americans about solar technology and solar affordability.

Of course, the only way to find out if solar is affordable for your commercial office building is to get a free, no-obligation solar quote. (And by the way, once you sign up with REC Solar, you can be sure it won’t take three years to install.) So, get started here.

 

A Solar Revolution in New York

Since Governor Cuomo launched his ‘NY-Sun’ initiative last year – seeking to quadruple the amount of customer-sited solar deployed in New York between 2011 and 2013 – businesses, homeowners and utilities have worked to install or develop nearly 300 megawatts of new solar. Indeed, more solar electric systems are being developed since ‘NY-Sun’ was launched in 2012 than in the entire prior decade combined.

Thanks to bold policy commitments and high electricity costs, New York is today the most exciting commercial solar market in the U.S.

Since Governor Cuomo launched his ‘NY-Sun’ initiative last year – seeking to quadruple the amount of customer-sited solar deployed in New York between 2011 and 2013 – businesses, homeowners and utilities have worked to install or develop nearly 300 megawatts of new solar. Indeed, more solar electric systems are being developed since ‘NY-Sun’ was launched in 2012 than in the entire prior decade combined. As a result, New York is expected to be a top-five residential and commercial solar market this year, rivaling solar powerhouses including California, Arizona and New Jersey.

The reason for New York’s solar blitz is simple – inexpensive solar coupled with attractive, low-money-down financing (and monetary incentives provided by electric companies and NYSERDA) makes solar a strong financial proposition. New Yorkers are learning quickly that solar allows them to save real money on electric bills without high upfront costs. Expensive conventional electricity solar even more attractive – the 20.8 cents per kWh New York households paid for electricity in July was 51.8% more than the nationwide average of 13.7 cents per kWh.

REC Solar has now constructed commercial systems for multiple New York clients. Our dedicated sales and installation teams are not only helping people decimate their electric bills with solar, we’re jointly building an exciting new clean energy economy in the state and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

Emerging solar markets like New York pose challenges and opportunities for both solar companies and their customers. On one hand, policymakers often offer relatively-high financial incentives for early solar adopters – in order to create a vibrant, motivated customer base which encourages investment and attracts solar companies to the state. On the other hand, local planning and permitting agencies in emerging solar markets are often unfamiliar with residential and commercial solar electric systems, which can slow installations until small-scale solar permitting becomes routine. Right now Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, and Orange counties are generating the highest returns for our residential solar customers, but we have bigger plans for New York in the future.

With a solar electric system on your home or business you can put cash in your wallet, generate your own electricity, and fuel a clean energy revolution right in your own neighborhood. We’re here to help with an experienced, friendly team that help determine whether solar is right for you, and develop a turnkey solar solution to meet your needs.

 

Top Three States for Commercial and Large Scale Solar: California, Colorado and Hawaii

If you’re a commercial business with a large plot of land or your location’s roof gets plenty of sun, should you install solar right now? Based on sunlight potential and state policies, there are several particularly favorable markets right now in the U.S. for commercial solar installations.

If you’re a commercial business with a large plot of land or your location’s roof gets plenty of sun, should you install solar right now? Based on sunlight potential and state policies, there are several particularly favorable markets right now in the U.S. for commercial solar installations.

Specifically, if your site is in California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Washington DC, Illinois, or Puerto Rico, congratulations! It’s an excellent time for you to consider going solar, and here’s why: Great sunlight potential and aggressive solar policies.

Let’s go over the highlights of why now’s a great time to go solar in those areas. The map below shows the sunlight potential (“insolation”) for the entire United States and Puerto Rico. Sun potential is important because the more sunlight available, the fewer solar panels are needed, and that ultimately decreases your cost of going solar. That’s especially true in roof mounted situations, such as supermarkets and big box stores, or if your goal is to minimize land used for a ground mounted installation.

rec_solar_top-three-states-for-commercial

From the insolation map, we can see that there are plenty of “hot spots” for solar potential, but it’s the area’s policies that can enhance the economics of solar—and hence your decision to go solar.

A state’s solar policies can affect the design of a solar power purchase agreement (solar PPA), the most common way to finance commercial solar. With a solar PPA, there’s no upfront cost to the customer. Instead, the customer pays for a lower kilowatt hour (kWh) rate than its normal utility rate.

With all of the above in mind, let’s briefly look at the large scale solar friendly policies in California, Colorado, and Hawaii.

CALIFORNIA                                                                                                                                                                  

California has been—and will continue to be—the largest solar market in the United States, which is why REC Solar has over 10 branch offices and hundreds of employees there to serve the market. (Our headquarters is also based in San Luis Obispo).

The reason California remains a leading solar market is because of its multiple solar policies, which include net metering, a Feed-in-Tariff, and some cash rebate programs for the commercial market:

  • Net metering allows commercial solar customers to install a large solar system and credit their utility bill for any extra solar energy produced during the day.
  • A new Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) incentive is available in Los Angeles. With a FiT, the utility pays the commercial building owner a premium price for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) produced by an installed solar system. While the building does not directly offset the building’s energy, the owner receives enough compensation from the FiT to not only pay for the system, but also make a profit. As an alternative, a building owner can earn money by just leasing their roof or land area to a solar development company, which will install a solar system and collect the FiT payments.
  • Within Southern California Edison (SCE) territory, commercial solar customers can still benefit from cash solar rebates available through the California Solar Initiative.

Consequently, commercial customers with roof space or sunny parking lots can either save money on their electric bill, or in Los Angeles, choose to install a solar system and sell electricity to LADWP.

REC Solar’s sophisticated energy savings analysis and financing programs can determine the savings and cash flow impact of which incentives and financing models are most beneficial to you. Contact us to find out more.

COLORADO

Colorado is an early solar adopter, and REC Solar has been there since the beginning.. Like California and 15 other states, plus the District of Columbia, Colorado has what’s known as a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS.) By state law, it requires investor owned utilities (IOUs) to produce a minimum amount of solar energy and other clean energy technologies as part of their portfolio.Recently, the Colorado RPS has been applied to the smaller utilities. Consequently, there are now more areas where utilities are offering incentives for businesses to go solar.

Another reason Colorado is a top market is because of its new community solar policies. With community solar (sometimes known as “solar gardens”), you can now invest in an offsite solar electric system . So, whether or not you have enough sunlight or roof space on your brewery, supermarket, or department store, you can now virtually go solar by investing in a nearby solar farm.

REC Solar has maintained a branch office in Westminster, CO for many years and has excellent relationships with community solar developers. Contact us to see if an onsite or a community solar project would be right for you.

HAWAII

Hawaii continues to be one of the strongest growth markets in the US, and while part of that growth is due to a generous state tax credit, the main factors driving Hawaii’s growth are abundant sunlight and the cost of generating power on a remote group of islands.

As Hawaiians know, oil, gas, and coal are not native to Hawaii. Consequently, all of the energy consumed by the state is imported—except for solar and wind. Those clean energy solutions are not only natural to Hawaii, but also increasingly cost-competitive.

The Hawaii legislature is set to modify the tax credit soon, so if you’re thinking about going solar in Hawaii, contact us as soon as possible so that you can benefit from the most incentives.

 

SEIA/GTM Report Confirms Record Solar Uptake; Strong Momentum into 2013

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Greentech Media todayrec_solar_seia-gtm-report-confirms-record released the annual “U.S. Solar Market Insight: Year-in-Review,” showing record levels of solar demand. U.S. businesses, homeowners, and utilities installed 3,313 megawatts of solar in 2012, representing 76% annual growth over the prior year. Cumulatively, more than 300,000 solar electric systems are today online in the U.S. Other key facts:

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Greentech Media todayrec_solar_seia-gtm-report-confirms-record released the annual “U.S. Solar Market Insight: Year-in-Review,” showing
record levels of solar demand. U.S. businesses, homeowners, and utilities installed 3,313 megawatts of solar in 2012, representing 76% annual growth over the prior year. Cumulatively, more than 300,000 solar electric systems are today online in the U.S. Other key facts:

  • While California remains the top solar market, key growth states in 2012 included Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, and North Carolina.
  • Hawaii closed the year strong, installing nearly as much in Q4 as they did in the first three quarters of 2012 combined. Hawaii generates a greater percentage of their electricity from solar than any other state. Because Hawaii is heavily dependent on oil for electricity generation, Hawaii has the highest electricity prices in the country. These high prices are driving homeowners and businesses to install solar electric systems to control runaway utility bills.
  • Last year Massachusetts quadrupled the solar capacity it installed in 2011, with much of the growth coming from a strong commercial solar sector, which broke the 100 megawatt mark in installed capacity for the year.
  • Much of solar’s growth is due to cost reduction. From 2001 to 2012, the average retail price of electricity in the U.S. increased 35%, while the average installed price of a solar system dropped nearly 70%.
  • 2012-installed solar installations were valued at $11.5 billion, compared to $8.6 billion in 2011 and $6 billion in 2010.

This year will be another growth year for solar. Analysts project at least 4.3 gigawatts of new installed solar for the year. Top growth prospects for 2013 include Hawaii, New York, North Carolina, and Massachusetts.

 

POLL: VOTERS OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT SOLAR

Despite renewable energy being a wedge issue this past election season, voters support solar and would like to see government do more to support the growing industry, according to national polling conducted in September by Hart Research Associates and commissioned by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

rec_solar_poll-voters-overwhelmingly-support-solarDespite renewable energy being a wedge issue this past election season, voters support solar and would like to see government do more to support the growing industry, according to national polling conducted in September by Hart Research Associates and commissioned by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

“American voters have spoken loud and clear – they love solar and they want more of it. Republicans, independents, and Democrats are unified in calling on Congress to increase our use of solar energy in America,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA President and CEO.

The polling found that 92% of likely voters feel that the U.S. should develop and use more solar energy. Notably, this support spanned the conventional partisan divide with 84% of Republicans, 95% of independents, and 98% of Democrats agreeing.

This favorable perspective translated directly into bipartisan support for solar incentives. 78% of respondents said the government should provide tax credits and financial incentives to encourage solar energy. Two-thirds of swing voters (67%) chose solar above any other energy source to receive these incentives.

While voters were unsure about solar’s affordability, Resch noted that costs are falling dramatically, making commercial solar an affordable option for millions of businesses.

“We need to get the word out across the country that solar is an affordable and reliable choice today – not just in California,” said Resch. “Solar is cost-competitive today whether you’re in Phoenix, Arizona or Dayton, Ohio. Families and companies are seeing real savings every day thanks to their decision to go solar.”

See the complete results at Seia.org, and check out what REC Solar is doing in states like California and Arizona.

 

NET METERING AT A CROSSROADS

The vast majority of those who haverec_solar_net-metering-at-a-crossroads installed solar on their home or
business in the U.S. participate in what’s known as “net-metering.” Net metering, simply put, is an arrangement with your utility whereby you – as a producer of electricity – are credited for the full retail value of any electricity produced, but not used at the time of generation.

The vast majority of those who haverec_solar_net-metering-at-a-crossroads installed solar on their home or
business in the U.S. participate in what’s known as “net-metering.” Net metering, simply put, is an arrangement with your utility whereby you – as a producer of electricity – are credited for the full retail value of any electricity produced, but not used at the time of generation.

These bill credits can then be used to offset usage when the solar electric system isn’t generating electricity (at night, for example). Virtually every state in the nation has adopted net metering, making it one of the most prevalent and powerful drivers of small-scale solar generation. With net metering, businesses can more effectively manage electricity production and consumption, and significantly reduce short- and long-term energy costs, particularly in areas with tiered rate structures.

In fact, while other solar market mechanisms – feed-in-tariffs and renewable energy certificates (RECs) come to mind – get all the glory and attention, net metering has arguably been the policy foundation of the U.S. small-scale solar industry. At REC Solar, the overwhelming majority of the more than 8,000 systems we’ve installed nationwide are net-metered, and this is fairly indicative of what you’ll find throughout the industry. In California, for example, there are approximately 100,000 homes and businesses using net metering, with the number of systems not using net metering estimated at a slight fraction of that number.

Net metering today, however, is at a crossroads.

From one direction, we’re seeing states and utilities implement more innovative and expanded net metering opportunities. Under a typical net metering arrangement, the solar electric system offsets electricity consumption at a single meter. This works fine in most cases, but not all. Think of a rancher who has multiple meters in different locations for pumping water. A shopping mall owner who wants to reduce costs for tenants. Traditional solar-and-net-metering doesn’t often work for these folks. That’s why policymakers are increasingly looking to expand net metering programs – falling under the headings of virtual net metering, aggregate net metering, or community solar – to share the benefits of clean energy production with a broader base of customers.

The availability and workings of these programs vary widely. In Colorado, the forthcoming Solar*Rewards Community program will allow individuals to build systems and then market the system production to others, who receive the net metering benefits on a subscription basis. Massachusetts and Washington already have similar, albeit smaller, programs in place. In California efforts are moving forward to expand virtual net metering opportunities for both local governments and for structures with multiple meters, and San Diego Gas & Electric has proposed a new ‘Share the Sun’ program that would allow any customer to utilize the benefits of a nearby solar system. Individually, these aren’t going to revolutionize solar. Creating our clean energy future, however, requires that we create opportunities foreveryone to potentially take part in the production and use of renewable energy, and these new net metering opportunities are a small but meaningful step in the right direction.

That’s not to say that everything is parades and parties in net metering-ville. Nope. In California (still the largest U.S. solar market by a wide margin) it’s expected that – without legislative action – there will be enough net metered systems to trigger the aggregate statewide cap on such systems next year. In theory at least, once that cap’s reached, the investor-owned utilities aren’t required to offer additional net metering opportunities. Likewise, utilities across the country are more aggressively exploring opportunities to offset lost revenue caused by net metering arrangements via customer surcharges. Thankfully, these efforts by utilities have been only marginally successful, but I expect this to be a dominant issue for the solar industry in 2012.

To recap, then, net metering is:

  • A significant contributor to favorable solar electric system economics.
  • A critical growth driver for solar.
  • Underappreciated – like the girl next door in a Taylor Swift song.
  • Ready to be expanded across the country via new policy models, while simultaneously being challenged in a number of venues.

That’s it, folks. Net metering 101. If you have any questions about how a net metered solar system can save your business money, please contact us.

 

CALIFORNIA LEADS THE WAY IN SOLAR POWER

During his first year in office, California Governor Jerry Brown hasn’t just signed the most aggressive renewable portfolio standard in the nation (33% of electricity from renewables by 2020) into law, he’s also called for the deployment of 12,000 megawatts of distributed renewable generation. ‘Distributed’ generation, of course, is typically that which is sited close to energy demand, like rooftop solar.

During his first year in office, California Governor Jerry Brown hasn’t just signed the most aggressive renewable portfolio standard in the nation (33% of electricity from renewables by 2020) into law, he’s also called for the deployment of 12,000 megawatts of distributed renewable generation. ‘Distributed’ generation, of course, is typically that which is sited close to energy demand, like rooftop solar.

Twelve thousand megawatts of distributed generation is a remarkable challenge for California’s citizens, businesses, and government. That’s more than 12 times the amount of solar which has been deployed under the California Solar Initiative – itself the most successful solar program in U.S. history – and enough generation to power more than 2.4 million homes. Clearly, there is an enormous amount of effort which needs to be made to reach this goal, in a number of areas:

  • With the state bouncing from one fiscal crisis to the next, policymakers will need to develop cost-effective ways of encouraging renewable generation without using direct subsidy. Most efforts to promote small-scale renewable development take a stick-and-carrot approach – utilities are required to incorporate some amount of renewables into the grid, and system owners receive a direct financial incentive, typically in the form of an up-front rebate and/or tax credit. The previously-mentioned California Solar Initiative is a perfect example, and one which has contributed materially to solar cost reduction (thanks to economies of scale) and the development of local solar jobs. These sorts of direct incentives, though, won’t be around much longer. Expect a new generation of production-based and market-oriented policies to ultimately take their place.
  • As such, we need to continue to work to make commercial solar power more affordable and accessible, while stepping up efforts to show people just how much they can save – short- and long-term – by deploying clean, powerful solar energy on their roof.
  • Additionally, state and local regulatory structures need to be streamlined to make small-scale solar that much easier for homeowners, businesses, and landowners. With REC Solar having installed more than 8,000 solar electric systems nationwide, installation is becoming more plug-and-play with each passing week. Over-the-counter permits, relatively low fees, and simple interconnection to the grid will help commercial solar become cheaper and more available everywhere.

One thing, however, is certain. With thousands of megawatts of solar already delivering energy to Californians, we are well past the tipping point when it comes to renewable energy and small-scale solar. No doubt, there will be surprises. Challenges will need to be overcome. But all of us – together – are building the future, and it’s an exciting journey. What do you think? What, in your mind, are the principal challenges and opportunities surrounding the goal of 12,000 megawatts of distributed generation by 2020?

 

SOLAR COMING ON STRONG IN NEW JERSEY

When you think of states with a long-term commitment to solar energy, most people tend to think of sunshine, renewable-friendly politics, and expensive conventionally-produced electricity. States like California, Arizona, and Nevada come to mind. It can be sunny and hot in that part of the country, and that makes for lots of air-conditioning (and other power-consuming technologies), steep electric bills, and great solar production.

When you think of states with a long-term commitment to solar energy, most people tend to think of sunshine, renewable-friendly politics, and expensive conventionally-produced electricity. States like California, Arizona, and Nevada come to mind. It can be sunny and hot in that part of the country, and that makes for lots of air-conditioning (and other power-consuming technologies), steep electric bills, and great solar production.

The dark horse in the great solar race though, is New Jersey. Oh yes. The state known for mobsters and MTV misfits has been absolutely on fire when it comes to solar deployment. Let’s put up some numbers:

  • New Jersey is second in the nation in both installed solar capacity and number of installations; only California has more. It’s now home to more than 15,000 solar electric systems providing more than 680 megawatts of capacity. That’s enough to power more than 135,000 homes.
  • In January 2012 alone, NJ businesses and homeowners installed more than 80 megawatts of solar – in one month. That’s more than double what was installed in Florida (ahem, the Sunshine State) in all of 2011.
  • Even under conservative projections, the Garden Sate will have well over 4,000 megawatts of installed solar by 2026. While this may not surpass California’s 12,000 megawatt goal, New Jersey’s is written into state law, and of course you could easily fit New Jersey within a number of California’s 52 counties.

What’s the state doing to promote this sort of explosive growth of solar power? Simply put, the state has the most aggressive solar-specific targets in the nation. Unlike California’s largely technologically-neutral renewable portfolio standard, NJ has recognized the specific benefits of distributed commercial solar and carved out exact solar targets for utilities. State policymakers also implemented the nation’s most robust renewable trading mechanism, whereby solar owners choose when and how to sell the renewable aspects of their solar production, while still watching their electric bills melt away.

In fact, solar is sprouting so rapidly that the state’s extremely aggressive mandates are being exceeded through 2013, at least. This has led many industry observers to question whether the state’s blistering pace of solar installation can continue, and lawmakers in Trenton to actually consider accelerating the state’s solar targets. One thing is clear: New Jersey is – and will continue to be – a preeminent leader in building our clean energy future. Put away the spray tan, Jersey boys and girls, commercial solar is shining in the Garden State.