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

As Legislation To Increase Solar Net Metering Cap Gets Reduced, Report Shows Solar Energy Benefits Vastly Outweigh Costs

Homes and businesses with solar panels deliver more value to power customers and society than they receive through programs like net metering, a report said today, countering increasing complaints that solar homeowners don’t pay their fair share. The report comes in the hectic final days of the Legislative session before summer recess, as the Legislature considers bills to increase the net metering cap for New Jersey.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment America Research & Policy Center

10 Ways to Help Your City Go Solar

Last month's Shining Cities report detailed how cities are good for solar and solar is good for cities. We've seen some impressive strides across the nation to momentously expand our solar capabilities. But we're not where we need to be yet. To obtain a clean energy future your cities and towns need to do even more. Here's how to push them in the right direction! 

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment New Jersey

Earth Day Hike Inspects Forest Targeted for Great Adventure's Solar Project Clearcutting

Under overcast Earth Day skies, a group of advocates, Jackson Township residents, and Gov. Jim Florio hiked on adjacent property to the 90 acres of forested land that Great Adventure is proposing to clearcut to build the largest solar installation in the state to examine the condition of the targeted woods and urge Great Adventure to reconsider the siting of the solar installation.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center

Over 100 Attend Discussion on New Jersey's Solar Future

Over 100 students, community members, and solar business representatives attended a lively discussion on New Jersey’s solar energy future last evening at Rutgers University’s New Brunswick campus. The event was a collaboration between Environment New Jersey, NJ PIRG Student Chapters, Rutgers Fossil Fuel Divestment, and Rutgers Engineering Governing Council’s Sustainability Affair Committee.  

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center

Go Solar New Jersey Civic Leaders Letter

A letter of more than 70 local and state civic leaders calling for New Jersey to lead on solar by expanding solar to 20% of our power generation by 2025.

> Keep Reading

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