Founded in 1679 by Dutch settlers, Passaic has a long history as part of the Acquackanonk Township. It became an independent village in 1871, gained city status in 1873, and now has a population of over 70,000. Passaic has been characterized by innovation, playing a prominent role in the textile and manufacturing industries a century ago. During the 20th century, Passaic became a development hub for the television industry, and the city was nicknamed “The Birthplace of Television.” The DuMont Laboratories, one of the first TV manufacturing facilities, and the DuMont Television Network, the first commercial TV network in the world, were founded in Passaic.
Recently, the local government has been working to reduce the environmental footprint of the city, while improving access to clean energy.
The city is also home to the United Passaic Organization, which manages many assistance programs for low-income citizens, including grants to make energy more affordable.
Unless you join the energy-purchasing cooperative, you will have to pay the Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) electricity rate, which is currently around 15 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The rate is much higher than the US average, but Passaic residents have an opportunity to reduce their electric bills with solar power. Energy rates normally increase year after year; which means that the annual savings from solar only grows with time. In 2016 alone, PSE&G power bills increased by 5%.
Solar panel systems in Passaic also accumulate Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), which can be sold for extra income. The 2017 price of SRECs in New Jersey is around $220, and solar panel owners accumulate one for every 1,000 kWh of solar power generated. SREC income is in addition to expected energy savings of around $150 from every 1,000 kWh of solar power consumed.
Along with the SREC program, the state government has introduced tax exemptions for solar panel systems. When you purchase solar panels in Passaic, you are exempt from the sales tax, as well any increases in property taxes due to the rise in home value after installing solar (that’s right, solar panels actually increase the value of your home). In addition, there is federal tax credit for 30% of your solar power expenses, which can be claimed when filing your next tax declaration.
Since solar panels are such a lucrative investment in Passaic, financing them with a loan can be a smart move. With the energy savings, SREC income, and tax benefits, qualified home and business owners in Passaic can pay off their loan completely with zero upfront cost. PSE&G has a loan program where you agree to give the utility your SRECs in exchange for better financing terms. You can also evaluate the loan options from many banks, as they may offer a better deal than PSE&G if you have good credit.