The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) on Wednesday voted to create a permanent community solar programme after a two-year pilot scheme.
Since the inception of the pilot programme in 2018, the board has given the green light to a total of 150 projects with a combined capacity of 243 MW. Among these, 29 projects, equivalent to 50 MW, have already commenced operations, while an additional 97 projects are poised to kick off within the next several months.
All projects in the permanent programme will be required to serve at least 51% low and moderate income (LMI) subscribers, as measured by capacity subscribed. Furthermore, the board’s decision ensures a minimum discount for subscribers, with projects obliged to state a guaranteed utility bill credit discount of at least 15% in their registration. This discount will be applicable for the entire duration of customers’ subscriptions.
The new Community Solar Energy Programme (CSEP) will permit community solar projects of up to 5 MW on rooftops, carports and canopies over impervious surfaces, contaminated sites and landfills, as well as certain bodies of water. NJBPU expects to open an application window for a 225-MW capacity block for energy year 2024 in November 2023. A second application period for an additional at least 225 MW is set to be launched in the following energy year, which starts on June 1, 2024.