New Jersey’s new community solar pilot program enables residents who cannot install solar on their own property to benefit from the cleaner energy and cost savings associated with solar power. Community solar options are especially important to scale the use of solar, particularly for renters and low-and middle-income communities.
In January, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) set up rules for the state’s community solar program. Now the BPU is seeking public input to discuss implementing a commonsense consolidated billing requirement.
The importance of consolidated billing
Consolidated billing means that subscribers to a community solar project will receive only one electricity bill, combining the bills for the power from the community solar array and the electricity provided by the grid from the utility.
Without consolidated billing, community solar projects must outsource the billing function. This adds to the overall project cost and reduces the overall savings to customers. Given the narrow financial margins inherent in smaller-scale rooftop projects, the absence of consolidated billing means that it is more difficult for these projects to save money on their electricity bills. The inconvenience of paying two separate electricity bills may also act as a disincentive for potential subscribers.
Make your voice heard
Solar advocates can urge the PBU to require consolidated billing by submitting written comments (in PDF or Word format) to: [email protected] by May 17.
You can also participate in a public meeting on the issue on Tuesday, April 19, 2019 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 520 Market Street 2nd Floor, Council Chambers, in Camden. Members of the public wishing to speak are encouraged to register in advance via email to: [email protected].