New Jersey Solar Loan Program Expanded

If you own a business or live in PSE&G service territory in NewJersey and have been thinking about installing solar, but have not beensure how to finance such a large investment, now may be the time foryou to move forward. The utility’s ultra-popular solar loan programjust received the go-ahead from the New Jersey Board of PublicUtilities (BPU) to expand to the tune of $143 million. This additionalcapital should fund up to 51 MW of additional solar capacity for whathas turned out to be one of the country’s fastest-growing solar markets.

Here are some of the main points of the Solar Loan II program as laid out in yesterday’s press release:

  • Any solar installation is eligible, including residential,commercial, industrial, government, etc., as long as it’s a project ofa PSE&G electric customer
  • Projects may not exceed 500 kw
  • The loan may cover up to half of the gross cost of the solarinstallation, to be repaid over a span of up to 10 years forresidential customers and up to 15 for all others
  • Participation in the loan program does not affect eligibility forother solar incentives, such as New Jersey’s solar rebate and thefederal tax credit

But here is what may be the coolest part of this program: the loan may be repaid with cash, or with the solar renewable energy certificates or SRECs generated by the system. Thismeans you would be repaying your solar loan with value entirelyproduced by your solar panels. And the clever use of SRECs doesn’t endthere: PSE&G will use the SRECs it receives to help offset the billfor this program, which is being footed currently by a surcharge on itscustomers’ monthly bill.

PSE&G’s electric customers will pay for the cost ofthe solar program through the RGGI Recovery Charge (RRC), which isincluded in the delivery part of their monthly bill. PSE&G willsell the SRECs it receives for loan repayment in an auction, and creditthe proceeds from the sale to customers through the RRC, which willoffset a portion of the program costs. The average residential customerwho uses 722 kilowatthours in a summer month and 6,960 kilowatthoursannually will pay about 36 cents more per year than they do now.

New Jersey’s unique package of incentives–a rebate coupled with astrong SREC trading program, on top of the federal tax credit–has madeit one of the best states in the nation in which to pursue a solarinstallation for both homes and businesses. If you’ve been on the edge,you’re a PSE&G customer, and financing is what’s been holding youback, it may be time to take the leap.

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