Changes coming to New Jersey’s SREC program, what a good replacement means

By Glen Brand on March 14, 2019

Solar Renewnewable Energy Credits (SRECs) represent the renewable value of your solar. New Jersey, like many states, requires utilities to generate a certain percentage of electricity from renewable energy. Utilities can purchase your SRECS to meet this requirement. SRECs have played a critical role in the rapid growth of the state’s solar market.

Legislation passed last year phases out the state’s current SREC program once New Jersey attains 5.1% of electric sales provided by solar installations. That level could be reached in the next few months. In February, Solar United Neighbors of joined with Vote Solar, Environment New Jersey, and Earthjustice on recommendations to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) concerning the proposed replacement SREC program.

We believe that new SREC program should:

  • Spread the benefits of clean energy to all customers, regardless of income and location.
  • Maintain the state’s current net metering policies.
  • Require meaningful public participation in the decision-making process for the program redesign.
  • Support the solar market and limit variability in SREC prices.
  • Clarify the transition from the “Legacy SRECs” to “Pipeline SRECs” before launching a new successor program.
  • Provide incentives for projects that combine solar plus storage and especially solar plus storage for low-income projects.
  • Incentivize projects that include training targeted at underserved populations such as people of color, veterans, women, and low-income residents of environmental justice communities.

Furthermore, we believe that to reach the state’s mandated 50% renewable energy standard goal by 2030, the BPU should set a MW target for annual solar construction of 10 GW of total solar by 2030 from 2.7 GW in 2018.  Of this, 2.3 GW should be from community solar by 2030, approximately 800 MW per year.

Our analysis concludes that 10 GW by 2030 will result in more than 750,000 customers directly powered by solar by 2030. Of this, we would like to see behind-the-meter solar serve at least 70,000 low-income customers by 2030 and community solar to serve at least 92,000 low-income customers by 2030.