Jersey City – Twenty New Jersey solar businesses issued a letter to the White House today, endorsing limits on carbon pollution from power plants and advocating that solar energy become a focal point of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan.
“As solar power installers, manufacturers, designers, aggregators, product suppliers, and consultants, we welcome the EPA’s unveiling of the Clean Power Plan,” reads the letter, organized by the advocacy group Environment New Jersey. “This plan is a critical step toward transforming our energy system to one that protects our health and environment, and that of our children.”
To address the growing threat of climate change, in June the U.S. EPA proposed its Clean Power Plan, which would require power plants in New Jersey to cut carbon emissions 43 percent by 2030. The plan is open for public comment until December 1st, and could be finalized by next year.
States will have the flexibility to meet the limits introduced by the Clean Power Plan as they choose. Businesses signing the letter said the proposal could dramatically accelerate the development of clean energy across New Jersey.
“The Clean Power Plan is the kind of strategic, forward-thinking initiative that will create enormous opportunities for homeowners and businesses alike here in New Jersey,” said Bill Driscoll, President of Ocean Solar, LLC. “It will also play a huge role in expanding on the already 30,000 solar installations in New Jersey. As a proud NJ-based installer, Ocean Solar knows solar energy is a win-win for our economy and our environment, and we’re excited and proud to be a part of implementing the Clean Power Plan in the Garden State.”
Solar power is already on the rise across the state, with the most installed capacity on the East Coast, producing enough energy to power 160,000 homes. According to the latest solar jobs census from the Solar Foundation, the solar industry employed more than 6,500 people in New Jersey in 2013.
Strong public policy has been key in encouraging New Jersey’s solar growth to date, and state politicians continue to recognize the need for forward thinking policy to spur growth of clean energy. Today’s letter release comes on the heels of last week’s discussion in the Senate Environment and Energy Committee of a bill (S-2444) calling for 80 percent of New Jersey’s electricity to be generated from renewable sources by 2050.
“Already today, solar power delivers more value to the electric grid than it costs to produce,” according to Lyle Rawlings, President of the Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association and President of Jersey-based Advanced Solar Products. “If we build as much solar power in New Jersey every year as we built in 2012, and develop just 5% of our offshore wind resources, New Jersey can achieve 80% renewable electricity by 2050 and lead the nation in eliminating the most important contributor to global warming.”
Environment New Jersey’s counterparts around the country recruited 540 solar businesses nationwide to the sign the letter, which was delivered today to the White House.
“The climate crisis we are in demands that we fulfill our vast potential for solar energy,” said David Beavers, Solar Campaign Organizer with Environment New Jersey, “and our business and political leaders here in New Jersey and across the nation are ready to rise to the challenge.”