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 Legislature Acts To Move on Off-Shore Wind

On Monday, the New Jersey State Assembly passed a proposal that could help resusitate efforts to bring off-shore wind to New Jersey. The proposal, co-sponsored by Senator Bob Smith (D-Middlesex) and Senator Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic), requires the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to reopen a 30-day period for Fishermen’s Energy to resubmit an application for a demonstration off-shore wind project off Atlantic City. The demonstration project would be a five-turbine, 25-megawatt project that would help provide clean energy jobs to the state while reducing harmful global warming pollution.

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News Release | Environment New Jersey

Groundhog Day, Christie and RGGI: Perfect Together Governor Blows Off Legislative Regulatory RGGI Overide

Trenton – In a move that shocked no one in the State House, the Christie Administration failed to respond to a 30-day review of the legislative regulatory override of NJDEP decision to pull us out of the rules governing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) program. The RGGI program is a regional nine-state compact that reduces carbon pollution from fossil fuel power plants across the Mid-Atlantic and New England.

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News Release | Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center

Report Shows New Jersey #1 in Off-Shore Wind Potential & Poised To Benefit Most from Federal Tax Credit Extension

New Jersey may have lost the race to build the first off-shore wind facility in the nation, but the potential for off-shore wind power production is still highest off the Jersey Shore, according to Turning to the Wind, a new Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center report. The report also shows that carbon pollution equal to 1.1 million cars could be eliminated by 2020 with a rapid expansion in wind power off the Jersey Shore.

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Report | Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center

Turning to the Wind

Wind power continues to grow as a source of clean energy across America. The United States generated 26 times more electricity from wind power in 2014 than it did in 2001. But off-shore wind’s potential still remains relatively untapped, especially off the Atlantic. With the extension of clean energy tax credits, wind power can play a vital role in reducing carbon pollution under EPA’s Clean Power Plan and the transition to a clean energy economy.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment New Jersey

NJ Assembly Votes to Override Gov. Christie on RGGI Rules

The New Jersey Assembly voted to override the Christie Administration on global warming 46-32, on a virtual party line vote, moving one step closer to stopping Gov. Christie’s attempts to remove New Jersey from the rules governing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a popular program designed to clean up pollution from fossil fuel power plants. The State Assembly will get another opportunity to reaffirm the vote in the new legislative session after a 30-day period where DEP can review the regulatory proposal. The legislation, ACR189, includes co-prime sponsors Asm. John McKeon (D-27) and Asm. Joe Lagana (D-38).

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