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The Secret to New Jersey’s Solar Success

May 17, 2012 by Amy Bowman in Solar Stories with 0 Comments

How has New Jersey become the second best solar market in the country?

I recently interviewed Kevin Scialabba, New Jersey Sales Manager for Real Goods Solar, to learn more about the secret to New Jersey’s solar success and why the state is such a hot spot.

Why is solar such a great deal in New Jersey?
Kevin Scialabba

First and foremost – SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Certificates). New Jersey has proven that there is another way to grow solar without rebates and subsidies.

We also have increasing utility prices. According to the Energy Information Administration, between 1990 and 2010 residential electricity prices in NJ rose by 29%! This is also driving people to look for alternatives and creating success in New Jersey’s solar industry.

Why is New Jersey offering SRECs?

The main reason NJ wants to incentivize people to go solar is because the state and its utilities cannot keep up with the energy demands homes, businesses and schools are placing on the power grid. In order to move people away from consuming more and more utility-generated electricity, they incentivize them via SRECs.

How does one generate SRECs and how much are they currently worth?

New Jersey SRECs are a function of the size of the array. If you have a system producing 10,000kW you will receive 10 SRECs a year for the next 15 years from the State. The current average SREC trading price is $120. So on a home solar system of this size, the homeowners would receive, tax-free, $1,200 a year. That doesn’t even take into account their lower electric cost!

Before you can get SRECs, you have to install a system – isn’t that expensive?

Because of SRECs and other factors, going solar in New Jersey can cost as little as $0 down while still saving you lots of money on electricity bills! Solar rebates, leasing options and significant decreases in the cost of solar panels in the last 10 years have created all kinds of budget-friendly solar energy financing options for New Jersey homeowners looking for solar power at home.

How much power can a solar system really cover?

In many instances a solar system can cover a home’s entire bill. So not only is it possible to eliminate your electric bill, but your system actually makes money between SRECs and net metering. The return on investment, on average is 4-5 years. After that a homeowner can get 10 years of SRECs “on the house.”

Are certain towns or counties more attractive for solar?

Ryder University is an example of New Jersey's solar successA lot of communities in New Jersey are “young” in terms of being new developments, so even though they may be closer together, they don’t have shading issues. That makes it easier to go solar.

Also, in southern New Jersey communities like Vineland, Atlantic City or in Cape May County, you get more production than in other parts of the state, making it more attractive for homeowners in these areas to go solar.

Does New Jersey really have enough sun to make solar panels worthwhile?

There’s plenty of sunshine in the New Jersey! Just ask the people out on the shore! On average, the Northeast receives approximately 4.5 hours of direct sunlight a day.

Real Goods Solar is dedicated to providing high-quality New Jersey solar installations to help homeowners go green and save green. For more information or to schedule a free solar site evaluation, call 1.888.56.SOLAR or visit www.RealGoodsSolar.com.

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  • Leasing cost speculation - Smart Car of America Forums : Smart Car Forum: [...] While we're on the subject ... Contest where you can win a smart electric drive (3 year lease) plus a solar recharging station which is pretty cool ... only negative I see is that it's limited to who all can enter ... as I don't personally live in any of those states I'm out. Have often thought of adding solar panels to offset my electricity cost but being in the Midwest as well as house facing the wrong way and the looong payback I'll stick to my soon to be new 4.96 cents/kWh fixed rate which isn't 'free' but not bad ... "The sweepstakes is open to residents of CA, CO, CT, MA, NJ, and VT age 21+, and runs through September 30, 2013 at 6:00pm PDT." Real Goods Solar Smart Electric Sweepstakes | Real Goods [...]
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  • Harry Simmelink: I agree, but people need to understand that adding Solar to their home is an asset that will increase the actual value of their property if / when they choose to sell. With the environment the way it is going we are unable to ignore any product that offers free energy at no cost to both the buyer and more significantly the earth!
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  • Carina Whitham: I loved how Sera explained the benefits of solar! I am going to show this to my five year old who I am also teaching about the value of renewable energy. Great video!
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