It’s time for New Jersey to go big on solar power

More of us are going solar, meeting our energy needs in a way that’s clean, local and independent. Consider:

  • Solar power has tripled in the U.S. in the last two years, with another American family or business going solar every four minutes.
  • That’s in part because the price of solar has dropped more than 50 percent since 2011.
  • The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said that “solar is growing so fast it is going to overtake everything...It could double every  two years.”

Who's attacking solar?

Unfortunately, solar power’s rapid growth has alarmed some dirty energy companies. They keep putting up new roadblocks to solar -- so they can keep solar generating less than 3% of our power, even if it means more pollution and more global warming.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Charles and David Koch, owners of the oil conglomerate Koch Industries, and their allies have spent heavily to impose new taxes on homeowners who go solar – in effect, penalizing those who reduce their pollution and their carbon footprint.
  • The Edison Electric Institute, which represents electric utility companies, has teamed up with the American Legislative Exchange Council to dismantle state pro-solar laws in Kansas, North Carolina and Washington State, amid others.
  • Oklahoma, Arizona and Ohio already have moved to scale back their solar programs.

Keep the solar surge going strong

Solar power might disrupt the business plans of dirty energy companies, but it makes a ton of sense for America.

That’s why people from all walks of life are getting behind solar, from environmentalists to Tea Party activists, from solar entrepreneurs to Barry Goldwater, Jr., son of the former Republican nominee for president.

Our challenge is to not only fend off the attacks being led by the dirty energy lobby, but to keep the surge in solar power going strong.

How do we do it?

Our research shows the cities and states with the most solar power aren’t necessarily the ones with the most sunshine; they also include states with smart pro-solar policies. For example:

  • Arizona, Hawaii and California made the list of the top 10 states for solar in our 2014 report. But so did Massachusetts, New Jersey, Colorado and Delaware, all thanks to smart policies.
  • The top 10 solar states, with only 26% of the nation’s population, were responsible for 87% of the nation’s solar power.
  • Our report found all or nearly all of the states shared a set of smart policies in common, from strong clean energy standards to policies that let solar homeowners sell their extra power back to the utilities.

20 percent solar by 2025

We need more and better pro-solar policies, not fewer. That’s why we’re urging Gov. Chris Christie to make commitments that will help put New Jersey on the road to 100% clean energy, with 20 percent solar by 2025. 

Achieving this state goal would help move our country closer to the national goal of getting 10 percent solar by 2030. This would produce immediate and long-lasting benefits for our environment, including removing 280 million metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere by 2030—the equivalent of taking 59 million cars off the road.

Let's go big on solar

We think a combination of professional research and advocacy with community action can help New Jersey go big on solar. Why? Our national federation has done it before.

Environment California spearheaded the campaign for that state’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative. In Massachusetts, we helped convince the state to set a goal of enough solar to power 50,000 homes – and then persuaded the state to raise the goal when it hit the original milestone ahead of schedule. We’ve also won pro-solar policies in Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Arizona, New Jersey and North Carolina.            

But we have a long way to go to reach solar power’s true potential.

It’s time to go big on solar. If we take the right steps today, we can harness more power from the sun so we can finally leave dirty energy behind. The sky really is the limit.

Issue updates

News Release | Environment New Jersey

NJ’s Solar Energy Economy Gets a Boost

At the end of June, and just days before their summer recess, the New Jersey Legislature had passed a bill (S1925 / A2966) that will help further grow New Jersey’s successful and booming solar energy industry.  Governor Christie signed that bill today and Matt Elliott, Environment New Jersey’s Clean Energy Advocate, issued a statement applauding the move.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment New Jersey

Christie Administration Sued for Illegally Leaving Regional Clean Energy Pact

Governor Chris Christie and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection failed to follow legal due process and safeguard the economic and health interests of New Jersey citizens when pulling the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) – a 10-state compact that is cutting harmful air pollution from power plants and shifting investments to clean energy, according to a lawsuit filed today by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environment New Jersey.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment New Jersey

A Record of Leadership

Over the last decade, northeastern states have built a track record of successful action to reduce global warming pollution. By working together
across state lines and partisan divides—and developing innovative new policies to hasten the transition to a clean energy economy—the Northeast has succeeded in
cutting emissions while safeguarding the region’s economic health.
Between 2000 and 2009, the 10 northeastern states1 that participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) cut per capita carbon dioxide

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment New Jersey

As Emissions in Northeast States Decline, Economic Growth Outpaces Nation

A new report by Environment New Jersey released today highlights the role that clean energy and environmental policies have played in moving states toward meeting targets for reducing global warming emissions, while challenging claims that actions that reduce emissions undermine economic growth.  

According to “A Record of Leadership: How Northeastern States are Cutting Global Warming Pollution and Building a Clean Economy,” New Jersey and the 9 other states that participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) have cut per capita carbon dioxide emissions 20 percent faster than the rest of the nation, even as the region’s gross product per capita grew 87 percent faster than the rest of the United States. 

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment New Jersey

In the Path of the Storm

With extreme weather events increasingly common in New Jersey and across the United States, Environment New Jersey released a new report.  The report documents extreme weather events in every county in New Jersey, and discusses the likely consequences of future disasters as a result of a warming world.

> Keep Reading

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