Located in southern New Jersey, Vineland has a population of over 60,000. The settlement that eventually became Vineland was founded by Charles K. Landis, who purchased a large piece of land in 1861 with the goal of farming grapes, hence the name of the city. Vineland was originally founded as two separate settlements, the Landis Township and the Vineland Borough, and the city was officially founded with their merger in 1952.
Ever since its foundation, Vineland has been a community with a strong focus on sustainability: the original settlers wanted to establish an agricultural town with minimal environmental disruption. Recently, significant effort has been put towards cleaning the former site of the Vineland Chemical Company, which operated from 1949 to 1994. The company had poor waste management policies, which contaminated the surrounding area, but the Vineland municipal government and the US Environmental Protection Agency have been working hard to reverse the damage.
Vineland also makes ample use of clean power, especially solar power. For example, the municipal government deployed four solar farms between 2009 and 2012, with a total installed capacity of 16 megawatts (MW). These solar power systems save the city around $1.2 million each year in energy generation and transmission expenses. Solar panel systems on residential and commercial rooftops contribute an additional 18 MW of solar capacity.
Vineland is split among two electric utilities: the Vineland Municipal Authority and Atlantic City Electric. Thanks to large investments in solar power by the municipal government, customers who rely on Vineland Municipal Authority have lower electricity rates at 14 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Atlantic City Electric customers, however, are subject to higher rates, paying around 18 cents per kWh, and rates are expected to increase by more than 6% in 2017. Customers of both the Vineland Municipal Authority and Atlantic City Electric can achieve significant savings by installing their own solar panel systems.
Home and business owners who install solar panels in Vineland are also eligible to accumulate Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), where one SREC is granted for every 1,000 kWh generated. As of 2017, each SREC can be sold for around $220, which represents an economic benefit for solar panels beyond energy savings:
As a complement to energy savings and the SREC market, there are generous tax benefits for solar panel systems in Vineland, NJ. First, home and business owners are not charged any sales tax when purchasing solar panels. Second, property taxes will stay the same even though your home value increases significantly after installing solar. Finally, you can deduct 30% of your investment in solar from your federal taxes when you file your next declaration.
If you are considering solar panels for a home that hasn’t been built yet, there is an additional incentive: the NJ Clean Energy Residential New Construction Program. This program offers rebates for homeowners who deploy renewable energy or energy efficiency measures in newly constructed homes.
Finally, if you are unable to purchase a solar panel system upfront, there are many financing options that require no upfront investment. Qualified home and business owners in Vineland can often offset their monthly loan payments with a combination of energy savings, SREC income, and tax benefits to start saving with solar immediately.