I had the privilege of participating in a panel discussion on green building practices and sustainability in the New Jersey Real Estate and development arenas. The state is on the leading edge with the programs it has in place since 2001. Two of the programs got a lot of attention at our conference, the solar energy program and the Pay for Performance Program.
New Jersey boasts the fastest growing solar market in the country representing 15-20 percent of the U.S. solar market. The linchpin in the success of the New Jersey solar market is its adoption and ongoing use of Solar Renewable Energy Credits or SREC. For every megawatt of generation that a solar array produces, its owner is granted one SREC, which can be sold on an open market. Current SREC values help to drive down the payback period for a typical solar installation from 25 years to about 9 years. Coupling the use of SREC with other government incentives, owners are seeing significant financial advantages to installing large arrays at buildings.
The Pay for Performance Program pays for improvements made to existing buildings that result in 15 percent or greater reductions in peak energy use. With the average age of the built environment within New Jersey at over 20 years and with the recent slowdown in development, the program has drawn the attention of owners of office buildings and industrial buildings alike. Incentives from the program are paid in three phases: at completion of an energy reduction plan, after installation of planned improvements and after a post-project verification of energy savings.
With the nation’s first offshore wind farm likely to be built off the coast of Atlantic City, NJ in the next 3-5 years, New Jersey continues to lead the rest of the country in the development of real renewable energy projects. Read more about the clean energy programs that have made New Jersey a model of leadership here.