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Eustace Introduces Bill to Establish Solar Power Incentive Program

Legislation Provides Financial Incentives to Owners of Solar Panel Systems, Reduce Electric Grid Congestion

(TRENTON) – Assembly Democrat Tim Eustace (D-Bergen, Passaic) has introduced legislation that would establish the “Solar Power Incentive Program” to provide financial incentives to owners of solar panel systems and to also help reduce electric grid congestion throughout the state.

“Many families are making eco-friendly choices to install solar panel systems,” Eustace said. “Families choosing to use solar panels are cutting energy costs and, most importantly, moving the state toward a greener, more environmentally responsible future. We should continue to encourage the use of solar power through incentive programs such as this one.”

The impetus for this legislation stems from an article which noted New Jersey home owners, businesses, schools and others to had built nearly 33,000 solar installations as of January according to New Jersey Clean Energy Program data.

Under the bill (A-4643), the Board of Public Utilities, in consultation with electric public utilities, is directed to designate five strategic zones in the state that would benefit from reduced electric grid congestion through the installation of solar panel systems. For solar panel systems installed in those strategic zones after the bill’s effective date, the board is to reimburse an owner of a solar panel system 15 percent of the cost to install the solar panel system and $1.50 per watt of energy produced by the solar panel system.

“Rebate incentives are good for the economy, for businesses and families. Stabilizing electric grids will also help reduce costs of repairs and expansion,” Eustace added. “Enacting this bill will be a win-win for New Jersey consumers.”

New York law currently provides similar rebate incentives for the installation of solar panel systems in areas that experience solar panel congestion.
Eustace’s Solar Panel Incentive Program will be limited to solar panel systems with an installed capacity equal to or less than 25 kilowatts for residential systems and 200 kilowatts for non-residential systems. The bill requires the board to use funds collected from the societal benefits charge that is imposed under current law to fund and administer the Solar Power Incentive Program.

“The rolling blackouts residents have experienced during some of the severe weather events in recent years would be less like likely to occur when more homes take advantage of solar energy resources,” Eustace continued. “With the Solar Panel Incentive Program, we can aim to reduce the potential for future outages due to electric grid congestion.”

The Solar Power Incentive Program is to expire three years after the bill’s effective date.

The bill was introduced on June 15. It has been referred to the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.