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New Jersey cuts solar subsidies

Posted on by Nate Lew

Due to its solar subsidy program’s overwhelming popularity, New Jersey is tweaking its solar policy and slashing the payments it makes to homeowners who go solar.

The state’s Clean Energy Program, which administrates the renewable-power and energy-efficiency rebate programs that the Board of Public Utilities set up, announced earlier this month that it’s cutting back on spending. The move, the CEP hopes, will make subsidies available to more people.

When the next renewable-energy funding round begins September 1 – New Jersey’s rebate programs operate on a first-come, first-served basis – homeowners will be able to get 75 cents per installed watt, up to $7,500. Those amounts are lower than in many other states, but New Jersey’s solar rebate program has been so well-received that larger subsidies aren’t necessary.

The reason for the program’s unqualified success is the market for solar renewable energy credits that the BPU created. Under state law, utilities have to buy a certain amount of their power from renewable sources – and they can comply with the mandate by buying SRECs from individual homeowners. The actual price of the credits varies based on supply and demand.