With a population of more than 26,000, Bergenfield is repeatedly ranked as one of the best places to live in the US. NeighborhoodScout, a leading provider of real estate market data in the US, concluded that Bergenfield was the safest municipality in the entire country in 2012, and it was ranked 2nd after Franklin, MA in 2013 and 2014. The city is composed mostly of residential construction, with a thriving shopping district that has more than 50 international restaurants.
Bergenfield has started to expand its thriving construction industry to include modern energy infrastructure. The electric utility serving Bergenfield is the Public Service Electric & Gas Company (PSE&G), and they have carried out significant improvements to New Jersey’s energy infrastructure in recent years:
Since 2011, the Bergenfield municipality has been carrying out a home weatherization program for its residents. The program has the goal of improving energy efficiency by installing insulation in low-income homes.
Electricity from PSE&G is expensive. They charge 17 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), which is more than 30% higher than the national average. Being an investor-owned utility, PSE&G also increases its rates on a yearly basis. For example, its customers saw their power bills increase by 5% just last year and a similar hike in rates is expected for 2017. As a result, the savings potential of solar power in Bergenfield is significant, and you can expect your savings to increase each year as electricity prices continue to increase.
Power bill savings are not the only financial benefit of deploying solar panels. For every 1,000 kWh of energy generated, you are also granted a Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC). Local utilities are required by law to obtain a minimum percentage of their energy from renewable sources or face severe fines. Most utility companies develop some renewable energy generation systems themselves (like PSE&G has done by installing solar on utility poles), but can rarely meet their targets with only the projects they develop. In order to avoid paying hefty fines, utilities in New Jersey can purchase SRECs from home and business owners who install solar panels. Because fines in New Jersey can be very high, SRECs are very valuable. In Bergenfield, you can sell each SREC for around $220 (as of mid-2017).
Combining energy bill savings and SREC income leads to significant financial benefits. For every 1,000 kWh of solar energy your system produces, you save around $170 in power bills and earn one SREC that can be sold for around $220. That means the total economic benefit for 1,000 kWh of solar energy is $390, or $0.39 per kWh! Put another way, instead of paying $0.17 per kWh, you earn $0.22 per kWh.
If that wasn’t enough, there are also many tax incentives that make solar panels systems more affordable:
Solar panels are a great investment for both home and business owners in Bergenfield. However, the upfront cost of installing solar can be significant. For those who cannot afford to pay for solar upfront, there are many financing option available that require little or no money down. For example, PSE&G offers an attractive financing option in which they assume all the initial expenses if you agree to pay them back with the SRECs earned by the solar panel system. Although you give up on the income from SREC sales, you still keep the full energy savings and the tax credit. With the many different financing options available, residents of Bergenfield can go solar with $0 down and start saving money from Day One!