New Jersey has done such a fantastic job of promoting the conversion to solar power that it has been recognized by the Environment America Research & Policy Center as the fifth-best state in the country for adopting solar power. There are statewide programs available which support the switch to solar, as well as localized programs in areas such as Trenton, Newark, and Cherry Hill.
Rest assured there are incentives for every resident of the state however, to move in the direction of solar energy power. Since the cost of electricity in New Jersey is roughly 20% higher than the national average, the far cheaper cost of solar energy looks very attractive.
New Jersey options for going solar
If you should choose to lease your solar power from a third party, you benefit by having no immediate out-of-pocket costs to make the switch – the electric company or the third party company will cover the cost of installation for you. However, following installation, you will be responsible for the monthly electricity cost as well as an incremental amount which gradually recovers the cost of installation for the company.
Purchasing outright on the other hand, sidesteps any ongoing re-payment for equipment cost, and involves a minimal monthly outlay for maintenance, but it does require a substantial financial investment upfront to pay for the equipment and installation costs. Over a period of 20 or 25 years, the system will definitely pay for itself, and there will be no outrageous utility bills in the meantime. If you can’t afford a high initial purchase price, you may be able to take out a home equity loan for the purchase, and still realize the long-term savings from purchasing.
How New Jersey encourages conversion to solar
New Jersey has mandated that 22.5% of all its electricity must be generated from renewable energy sources by the year 2021, as outlined in its Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS). The state offers rebates to newly constructed homes which meet criteria for clean energy usage as outlined by its New Jersey Residential Clean Energy New Construction Program.
The real encouragement from the state is offered in the form of its Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs). These SRECs in essence constitute proof used by state utility companies to demonstrate that they are complying with mandates to increase production of renewable energy. SRECs are credits generated by solar panel systems installed by homeowners and sold to utility companies, usually in the form of a 10-yr agreement.
The homeowner loses nothing, and the utility company gains the SREC credits which are proofs of solar energy generation. The beauty of this is that a standard 5 KW solar panel system will generate about 6 SRECs in a given year, and at current prices, that would earn about $1,500 per year for the homeowner. In other words, you get paid for your electricity, instead of you having to pay for it.