Camden, Burlington, and Mercer Counties: get ready to save money on your electric bills while supporting clean, locally produced solar power.
The Tri-County Solar Farm will provide clean energy for hundreds of Garden State residents. Neighborhood Sun, a Mid-Atlantic B Corporation, is bringing their community solar initiatives to New Jersey.
The Tri-County Solar Farm is expected to produce power for up to 775 houses, condos, and apartment buildings. Subscribers are guaranteed a discount of 10-15 percent for 20 years with no cancellation fees, and they can save an estimated $100 annually on electric bills. Unlike rooftop solar, a member can take their subscription with them if they move to a new home.
The 3.1-megawatt project will primarily serve low- and moderate-income PSE&G customers in Camden, Mercer and Burlington counties. It is expected to be among the first community solar projects in New Jersey. Community solar energy is produced by solar farms that provide clean energy through local grid systems directly into customers’ homes. This means there is no equipment installation needed. Instead, customers can get the electricity produced by their share of solar panels delivered right to their homes. The community solar terms for low- and moderate-income residents include a guaranteed 15 percent discount to PSE&G rates, no credit requirement, and no cancellation fee.
Community solar is accessible to more individuals and communities than traditional rooftop solar since there are no dues or fees for membership, no upfront costs, no installation, and customers are guaranteed savings. Anybody who pays an electric bill can subscribe to a solar project in their area; helping residents save money on electricity, build stronger communities, and fight climate change.
In 2019, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) approved 45 applications to participate in the first year of its Community Solar Energy Pilot Program. The NJBPU explains community solar as “a solar array whose output is divided among multiple participants, known as subscribers. A subscriber can be a home or business that wants to use renewable energy but does not have an array on-site.”
The solar farms will be in various sites around the state, but the government has concluded they will occupy former landfills, brownfields, rooftops, or parking canopies. Governor Phil Murphy supports community solar by recognizing that more residents will have access to clean energy, especially those in low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities. NJBPU has planned for “100 percent of the approved renewable energy projects [to] serve LMI households in the state.” By participating in community solar efforts, New Jersey is also one step closer to Governor Murphy’s plan to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2050.
Community solar projects in New Jersey continue to elevate the state’s status as a solar leader, while finally providing the opportunity to switch to clean, affordable energy to communities that couldn’t previously afford it, or did not have the ability to install solar panels on their roof. Neighborhood Sun utilizes community solar to empower all people to choose clean energy, an already heavily supported idea in New Jersey.