Long Branch was incorporated in 1867, and experienced significant economic growth with the construction of many beach resorts along its shoreline in the late 19th century. The Long Branch film industry was also highly successful in the 19th century, and the city was nicknamed “the Hollywood of the East.” Filmmaking in Long Branch eventually declined, but tourism remains as a cornerstone of the local economy; the city is a common destination for residents of New York City.
Recently, the Long Branch School District has carried out significant efforts to make local schools greener. The Gregory School was the first institution to be equipped with solar panels in 2011, reducing its monthly energy expenses by around $2,000. The project was then replicated at other schools.
The city was also advised by an Environmental Commission and an Energy Review Committee, who helped identify and implement measures to reduce the city’s energy consumption and environmental footprint. Some of their projects and initiatives include:
Jersey Power & Light (JCP&L) charges 15 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) on average, and up to 20 cents/kWh during peak demand hours. Additionally, their rates increased by around 6% during 2016, and another 3% during the first months of 2017. These rates, which are higher than the national average, mean that solar panel owners can save a significant amount of money on their power bills.
Another reason to switch to solar panels is the Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) market in the state of New Jersey. You earn one SREC for every 1,000 kWh generated from your solar panels, and these SRECs can be sold for around $210 each. This provides income of $0.21/kWh in addition to your power bill savings of $0.15/kWh.
In addition to power bill savings and SREC sales, there are two tax exemptions for owners of solar panel systems in Long Branch:
You can also claim 30% of your solar power investment as a federal tax credit, as soon as you file your next tax declaration. This benefit applies to solar panels installed on both homes and businesses. In fact, all solar panel systems installed before the start of 2020 are eligible. A reduced tax credit will be available in 2020 and 2021, and will expire completely in 2022.
If you are planning to build a new home with solar panels, you can also get a rebate from the NJ Clean Energy Residential New Constructions Program. This benefit is exclusively for new properties – existing homes are not eligible. However, solar panels are an excellent investment for home and business owners due to power bill savings, SREC sales, and tax credits.