Save with solar in Jersey City, New Jersey

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Jersey City, New Jersey

Jersey City is the second largest city by population in the state of New Jersey, with over 260,000 inhabitants. The city is also an important transportation and logistics hub; it is part of the Port of New York and New Jersey with plenty of railroad connections and direct metro access to Manhattan.

Jersey City is carrying out significant efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2015, the municipal authorities unveiled a plan to become the greenest city in the country. Their action plan establishes many ambitious goals, setting an example for other municipalities. Jersey City has the following objectives:

  • All buildings in Jersey City are required to carry out an initial energy audit, including an assessment of carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Energy audits must be repeated every three years to ensure that buildings are taking measures to control their energy and environmental footprint. This requirement was added to the Jersey City municipal code.
  • 80% of the energy consumed by the city must come from renewable sources by 2050.

It is important to note that Jersey City had been carrying out significant sustainability efforts even before publishing the new municipal plan. It has been named the 10th greenest city in the US, and dozens of its buildings have been granted the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification by the US Green Building Council.

Is Solar Power a Good Investment in Jersey City, NJ?

There are several state and municipal mandates pushing forward the solar industry in Jersey City:

  • The statewide Renewable Portfolio Standard requires New Jersey utilities to obtain 22.5% of their energy from clean sources by 2021.
  • There is a specific requirement to generate 4.1% of all energy from solar technologies by 2028.
  • As mentioned above, Jersey City has a municipal goal of generating 80% of all energy consumed from renewable sources by 2050.

The local utility provider in Trenton is Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G). Residents of Jersey City have electricity prices of around 15 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). This rate is expected to increase year after year; in the last year alone, PSE&G rates increased by about 5%. If you invest in solar panels now, your savings will increase year after year!

A solar panel system in Jersey City also accumulates Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). For every 1,000 kWh generated, the system owner is awarded a SREC. The price of each SREC, as of early 2017, is around $220. It is important to note that SRECs are earned even if you consume the energy produced by your solar panel system. Homeowners can also expect savings of about $150 from each 1,000 kWh of solar power generated, which means the total economic benefit of generating 1,000 kWh of solar power is around $370!

In addition to a generous cash flow from SREC sales, a solar panel system in Jersey City is eligible for various financing options and additional incentives.

  • PSE&G offers loans for its customers who deploy solar panels. The local utility has renewable energy targets to meet, and client-owned solar panel systems can count towards the goal. They have a loan program that allows you to pay back the loan with the SRECs earned by your solar panels. This means you don’t have to spend any money upfront on your solar panels.
  • The NJ Clean Energy Residential New Constructions Program offers rebates if you are building a new home and want to install solar panels or other clean energy measures.
  • You are exempt from the sales tax when you purchase solar panels.
  • You are exempt from a property tax increase, even though a solar panel system makes your home more valuable.

If you own a lot of equity in your home, you can also evaluate low-interest loan options, such as a home-equity line of credit. The advantage is that you get all the SRECs and tax benefits, even if you purchase your solar panels with borrowed money: the solar panel system can pay off the loan by itself!