Tuning New Jersey’s Solar Market, Pennsylvania Take Note

While once indifferent to solar, New Jersey Governor Christie turned solar champion today by signing legislation that will ensure that the state is able to sustain its impressive solar growth over the coming years.

And while many solar supporters in Pennsylvania have looked to Harrisburg to address this issue with a similar approach to that of Governor Christie, Pennsylvania’s policymakers have failed to act before taking their summer recess.

NJ’s Christie has come to value solar as an engine for in-state economic growth. And this legislation will ensure that solar keeps on delivering those job benefits to the Garden State by accelerating its annual solar requirements in order to stabilize the market for solar beneath the Renewable Portfolio Standard (details from SEIA, here).

Declining costs and an attractive investment environment resulted in solar development in the state that outpaced demand. With the Governor’s signature, supply and demand will come back into balance and the state will continue to defend it’s title as the second biggest solar market in the county with more than 775 MW of solar installed to date.

With broad bi-partisan support from the state legislature, Christie’s leadership has proven that delivering the benefits of solar need not be a partisan issue. We commend New Jersey’s policymakers.

Pennsylvania, take note.

New Jersey’s neighbor to the West finds itself in the same position where rapid solar development over the past two years has resulted in an oversupplied and depressed market. In fact, Pennsylvania’s situation is arguably far more dire. With over 200 MW of solar eligible to satisfy the state’s solar requirements and only 190 MW required by June 2015, the state finds itself without a demand driver for the next several years and, to put it mildly, is faced with a languishing solar market.

And though the legislature has recessed without taking action, we urge Pennsylvania’s lawmakers to take a close look at the steps Governor Christie and the NJ legislature have taken to ensure that solar continues to be a driver of New Jersey’s economy and clean air.

According to study released last week, 79% of liberal and conservative Pennsylvanians agreed or strongly agreed that they want to see more renewable and solar energy. The report also shows that majorities of Pennsylvanians support existing renewable and solar energy policies as well as expansion of these programs.

With such broad, bipartisan public backing for more Pennsylvania solar, Harrisburg should take a page from its mid-Atlantic neighbor in resurrecting its solar market.

Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.

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