Solar Stampede in New Jersey

New Jersey’s second phase of the Clean Energy program that offered rebates to those seeking to install photovoltaic panels for energy savings went well – almost too well. The program which opened again May 3, is already closed again – the huge flood of applications that inundated the state program in just one short week exhausted resources.

Fortunately, the program is set up for this possibility, with plans for funding to be done several times this year in expectations that cycles would see this type of response.The Clean Energy Programs’ website now says:

“In just three days, an entire cycle worth of applications were submitted for residential and nonresidential solar projects through the Renewable Energy Incentive Program… The Office of Clean Energy anticipates having a recommendation for consideration of additional funding or potential program changes at the June 7th board meeting… Please check this website on a weekly basis for updates and additional information.”

The new cycle should open September 1, instead of applicants having to wait an entire year. In the meantime, there are still plenty of rebates and incentives available at the state and federal level. These include a federal energy-efficient property tax credit for homeowners of up to 30 percent of the cost of a solar photovoltaic installation, as well as the renewable-energy credit program, which is designed to serve as a long-term inducement for installing solar PV systems.

According to data from the federal Energy Information Administration, New Jersey residents pay nearly 16 cents per kilowatt-hour as of January 2010, one of the higher average residential rates nationally. No wonder hundreds of residents are stampeding to apply for funding, making New Jersey second only to California in solar use; the state has 5,582 solar-electric projects installed as of March 31, totaling a capacity of about 149 megawatts.

While some residents may be waiting for the new cycle of rebates to begin, others are moving ahead with installation plans. Arosa Solar, a PV installation company operating out of Lakewood, New Jersey, anticipates a rise in client requests over the coming year thanks to the support being provided to make the switch to clean energy affordable for the average homeowner.

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