Elizabeth is the fourth most populous city in New Jersey, with nearly 130,000 inhabitants. Founded in 1664, the city has a long history. Elizabeth once served as the first state capital of New Jersey and was home to many battles during the American Revolution. It is also the place from which George Washington embarked to Manhattan for his inauguration as the 1st US President in 1789.
The municipal authorities have carried out significant efforts to make Elizabeth a sustainable city, and it has been listed among America’s 50 Greenest Cities by Popular Science. Elizabeth has developed effective recycling, reforestation, and water quality programs.
With respect to solar power, the largest project in Elizabeth is the 4.8-megawatt (MW) rooftop photovoltaic system at the Jersey Gardens mall. When it was built in 2012, the project was the largest rooftop solar panel system in the US. The solar system uses over 15,000 solar panels, and the energy generated is equivalent to the consumption of more than 560 homes. The Jersey Gardens mall meets 11% of its electricity demand with energy from the 4.8 MW solar panel system.
Solar panels are a solid investment thanks to the combination of energy savings and financial incentives available in Elizabeth, and New Jersey generally. Consider the economic benefit of generating 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy with your own solar panels:
When energy savings and SREC sales are combined, the economic benefit for solar panel owners is $370 for every 1,000 kWh of solar energy generated. Also, it is important to remember that utility energy prices are constantly on the rise, so savings from solar tend to increase year after year. For example, PSE&G customers saw an average utility bill increase of 5% last year alone.
For home and business owners, SRECs can create a positive cash flow, but there are also complementary incentives that make solar more affordable:
If you are unwilling to pay for your solar panel system upfront, there is a financing option from PSE&G. With this program, PSE&G will lend you money to develop your solar project as long as you agree to pay back the loan with SRECs. Alternatively, you can apply for a home-equity line of credit or any other low-interest loan that can be offset with energy savings and SREC income.