The Board of Public Utilities and its Staff have received a number of inquiries regarding timing and next steps for the Community Solar Energy Pilot Program. The following updates are provided for informational purposes and to maintain transparency into the Board’s processes and timelines.
Community solar is an important pillar of New Jersey’s clean energy policy that ensures that the benefits of solar energy are accessible to all New Jerseyans, regardless of income or homeownership. In the first ever community solar solicitation in New Jersey, the Board received 252 applications and approved 45, representing 78 MW of solar energy capacity with 100 percent of the approved applications serving low and moderate income communities. The program grew significantly in the second solicitation, for which the Board received a record 412 applications, representing over 800 MW of proposed community solar projects. All but one of those applications proposes to serve low and moderate income communities. The Board is proud of the Pilot Program’s success to date, and looks forward to continuing to support the program as it continues to grow.
Program Year 2 (PY2) Application Review
Since the receipt of these applications, Board Staff has been carefully reviewing the proposed projects. Staff is currently finalizing its review of PY2 applications and anticipates presenting recommendations to the Board in October or November 2021.
- As determined by the Board in October 2020, applications selected as part of PY2 will be eligible to register for the Transition Incentive Program.
- PY2 awards will be in addition to, and will not count against, the 150 MW allocated to community solar as part of the new Administratively Determined Incentive (ADI) Program. The 150 MW ADI Program capacity will be available as part of the Community Solar Energy Permanent Program, as discussed below.
Program Year 3 and Permanent Program Development
- The Clean Energy Act requires that the Board convert the Pilot Program into a permanent community solar program within 3 years of the establishment of the Pilot Program, i.e. by February 2022.
- Staff will be organizing a stakeholder process to discuss the design of the permanent program after the award of the Program Year 2 applications. Staff anticipates that this stakeholder process will begin before the end of 2021. This process will build upon comments received in response to the Solar Successor Program Straw Proposal in April and May 2021.
- In light of the timing for the development of the permanent program, as well as the lessons learned from the Pilot Program, the Board has announced that it anticipates transitioning directly to the Permanent Program. As such, the Board does not anticipate conducting a Program Year 3 solicitation under the existing framework of the Pilot Program. Please be aware that this move directly to the Permanent Program will require formal action by the Board.
Thank you for your interest in New Jersey’s Community Solar Energy Pilot Program.