Community Solar Program: Online tool to help subscribers find local projects

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has launched an online tool that allows New Jersey residents to search by ZIP code for community solar projects serving their community.

The BPU is partnering with Sustainable Jersey on this initiative, which can be accessed here.

New Jersey’s Community Solar Program allows those who rent, lack control of their roof, live in an apartment or multifamily building, or cannot afford the cost of a solar installation to benefit from the cost savings and reduced carbon footprint of solar power. To date, there are 24 community solar projects that have come online and are in operation.

A community solar project is a solar array whose energy generation is financially divided among multiple participating subscribers. Subscribers receive a financial credit on their utility bill for the portion of power generated by the array on their behalf. Separately, subscribers will be responsible for paying a subscription fee to the community solar project.

Community solar projects are designed so the subscriber’s utility bill credit is larger than the subscription fee, meaning that the subscriber saves money, state officials have said.

BPU President Joe Fiordaliso touted the program, and he said the new tool will be of great impact.

“Our Community Solar Program represents one of the (Gov. Phil) Murphy administration’s greatest clean energy successes, especially with its focus on providing access to renewable energy and its benefits to low-income and environmental justice communities,” he said. “Now that many projects have come online, interested homeowners and renters can use the tool to find out where community solar projects are operating so that they can participate.”

Randall Solomon, the director of Sustainable Jersey, said the group is glad to be part of the program.

“The benefits of subscribing to a community solar project are twofold: you’ll save money and will be supporting New Jersey’s transition to cleaner energy,” he said. “Community solar projects also create an economic pathway for adding solar to more rooftops, landfills and other sites than was previously possible. Sustainable Jersey’s partnership with NJBPU on this project finder tool will make it easier for more residents to participate.”

Sustainable Jersey will sponsor a webinar on the Community Solar Program on March 8. Click here for more information.