TRENTON, N.J., June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Last Tuesday, Governor Chris Christie released New Jersey's 2011 Draft Energy Master Plan (EMP). Carrie Cullen Hitt, President of the Solar Alliance, commented as follows:
"Critically and appropriately, the proposed N.J. energy plan does not signal a major departure from the State's support for a vibrant and competitive solar market. In fact, it demonstrates Governor Christie's support for solar and his Administration's renewed focus and recognition of the economic and environmental impact that solar can have for residents, businesses and government entities in New Jersey.
"Strong policies in New Jersey led to tremendous progress that made the State second only to California for the amount of installed solar capacity and created a burgeoning industry with hundreds of new companies and thousands of new local jobs. Governor Christie seems focused on continuing this trend.
"However, while the announcement and initial statements are quite positive, a preliminary review of the proposed energy plan does reveal some troubling undercurrents and factual inaccuracies. The type of rigorous analysis encouraged by the EMP must be based on the best and most current information available and not on lingering stereotypes. In particular, the Solar Alliance has identified two areas we expect to address with the Administration.
"The Solar Alliance agrees with the focus within the EMP regarding rigorous 'net economic benefit' analysis. However, the current draft does not apply this principle consistently. And with regard to solar specifically, some of the costs are either out-dated or misconstrued while some of the benefits have been overlooked or de-emphasized. A few examples follow:
- Outdated and erroneous estimates of the costs of solar technology relative to conventional generation and other renewable technologies;
- Questionable estimates of future compliance costs;
- Exaggerated rate impact assessment; and
- Inconsistent, incomplete and biased quantification of solar benefits relative to other technologies.
"We may debate the methodology for measuring benefits of solar but their existence is undeniable and their omission from the Draft EMP is extremely disappointing. This unfortunately leads to an incomplete picture of the role that solar can and should play in the future of New Jersey.
"Also, although large projects are important to a successful solar market, the EMP ignores the value of small behind-the-meter systems. Smaller projects in particular have helped generate substantial economic development with the growth of local dealers and installers that now represent more than 200 local businesses employing more than 3,000 New Jersey residents. Residential projects afford taxpayers the opportunity to directly participate in the energy market, expanding consumer choice and competition. All behind-the-meter projects carry the benefits of distributed generation, reducing peak demand, driving down wholesale energy costs and deferring otherwise necessary investment in distribution and transmission infrastructure.
"The Solar Alliance commends the Governor, his Staff and the BPU for the substantial effort invested in the 2011 Draft EMP. However, we believe the analysis has left out important cost and societal benefits. This is not the time in our State's economic history to reduce our commitment to a more secure, affordable future driven by a clean energy industry creating thousands of jobs and providing opportunities for all New Jersey businesses and residents to control their electricity costs."
About the Solar Alliance
The Solar Alliance is a 501 6c trade organization representing over thirty companies involved in the financing, development and installation of solar projects across the United States. We work with state policymakers to develop cost effective solar markets.
SOURCE Solar Alliance