Legislation signed into law last Monday by Gov. Christie and sponsored by Assembly Utilities Chairman Upendra J. Chivukula and other Assembly members, will help stabilize the state's solar industry and protect thousands of clean energy jobs, according to proponents.
Chivukula, who lives in Franklin Township, Somerset County, has represented the 17th district in the NJ Assembly since 2002. Chivukula is challenging incumbent , a Republican, for the 7th Congressional district seat.
The 7th district has recently been redistricting and now covers large portions of Union, Morris, Hunterdon and Somerset counties, parts of Warren County, and Millburn in Essex County.
In Union County, the 7th Congressional district includes Berkeley Heights, Clark, Cranford, Garwood, Kenilworth, Mountainside, New Providence, a portion of Scotch Plains, Springfield, Summit, a portion of Union, Westfield and Winfield.
The Assembly measure signed last Monday (A-2966) accelerates the amount of solar-generated electricity that power companies are required to produce or purchase, in order to absorb the overproduction that had led to a fall in the price of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates — or SRECS — and jeopardized the state's solar industry.
An SREC is a certificate for the production of every 1,000 kilowatt hours of solar energy that is subsequently delivered to the multi-state power grid. New Jersey is part of the PJM (Pennsylvania, Jersey, Maryland) grid comprised of 13-states. The solar RECs can be traded to entities that need to purchase a minimum amount of energy from renewable sources to be in compliance with state law.
A-2966 almost doubles the requirement for solar. It also changes the solar requirement to a percentage, instead of calculating it in gigawatt hours.
The legislation also directs the Board of Public Utilities — with the state Department of Environmental Protection and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority — to establish a program to provide SRECs to owners of solar power electric generation facility projects on brownfields or landfills.
"New Jersey's burgeoning solar industry has experienced a robust growth, installing more solar systems in the first quarter of this year than any other state in the nation, and accounting for 34 percent of all U.S. installations," Chivukula (Somerset\Middlesex) said.
"The measure we sponsored is a comprehensive approach to stabilizing the market and maintaining New Jersey's national leaderhip in solar, which has been an economic driver during the recession and supported thousands of clean jobs," added Chivukula. "Accelerating the production schedule to almost double in the next few years, will help absorb the overproduction and ensure the continued growth of the solar industry."