In the United States, solar markets change rapidly from state to state, and there is so much information available that it can be difficult to keep track of solar development on your own. Because of this, we’ve compiled a list of the most important things to know about solar energy companies in New Jersey.
Solar energy has grown significantly in New Jersey over the past few years, making it one of the top ten solar-producing states in the United States over the past five years. The state’s solar market continues to experience strong growth, which is fueled by the state’s energy market, net-metering, Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), solar tax credits and exemptions, and the state’s solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) program.
The Garden State has enough installed capacity to power more than 250 thousand homes at any given time.
As a result, you will find all of the rules, incentives, and information about installers that you will need to know if you are thinking about getting into solar in the state.
Things You Should Know About Solar in NJ
New Jersey has one of the most aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) in the country, which mandates that 35 percent of the energy sold in the state come from clean sources by 2025, and 50 percent by 2030, according to the New Jersey Department of Energy.
A solar carve-out requires utility companies to generate a certain amount of electricity from solar generation, and New Jersey’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) includes a solar specific carve-out of 5.1 percent by 2021, with the remainder coming from other sources.
This is why the state of New Jersey provides numerous incentives to residents of the state who wish to transition to renewable energy sources.
Solar Photovoltaic Applications
- Distributed Generation / Behind the meter: These solar energy systems are relatively small in size and are installed on residential and commercial buildings, as well as in-ground and rooftop installations. They are primarily employed to meet the electrical demands of the facility on which they are installed. A typical residential solar PV system has a capacity of around 5kW and generates approximately 6.000kWh of electricity per year on average. While the average commercial application is around 25kW and produces approximately 30.000kWh of electricity per year, there are some exceptions.
- Utility / Grid supply Applications: Utility solar systems generate electricity that is sent directly into the grid; there is no on-site use for the electricity that is produced by these systems. Grid-supplied solar systems in New Jersey are typically large ground-based arrays or groups of panels with a capacity greater than 1MW.At the moment, BTM has 2,556 MW of installed capacity in New Jersey, whereas grid-scale supply has 695 MW of installed capacity.
NJ Board of Public Utilities
The Board of Public Utilities is the state agency in charge of overseeing the utilities that are subject to regulation. The New Jersey Public Service Commission ensures that customers receive safe, adequate, and proper utility services at reasonable rates.
In conjunction with its monthly published data of solar activity reports, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) developed the interactive summary of solar PV installations in each of the state’s counties, which is available below. You can see how each county ranks in terms of solar energy installation types by visiting this page.
Solar Incentives in New Jersey (NJ)
New Jersey is one of the best states in which to invest in a solar rooftop system because of its deregulated energy market, high electric rates, favorable solar policies, and tax incentives, among other factors.
Incentives for solar energy systems are available in New Jersey, and they include the following:
Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs)
Whenever you put in a solar energy system at your residence, you become eligible for the New Jersey Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) program. This is a financial incentive that provides system owners with a tradable certificate for every megawatt-hour (MWh) of solar energy production they generate.
In order to comply with the solar carve-out, utilities must obtain solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs), which guarantee that a specific percentage of the energy they sell comes specifically from solar generation. Creating a large market for SRECs in New Jersey, where they can currently be purchased for $220 per unit.
For example, a 5kW system will generate approximately 6 SRECs per year, resulting in a profit of approximately $1,320. According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, the state’s electricity from solar sources accounts for approximately 4.66 percent of total electricity generated in the first quarter of 2020.
Transition Solar Renewable Energy Credits (TRECs)
Since 2018, according to the Clean Energy Act, the BPU has stated that the program will be transformed into another solar incentive once solar energy generation accounts for 5.1 percent of total state retail electricity consumption. Although this incentive has not yet been established, the BPU has developed a proposal program for transition solar renewable energy credits (TREC).
In many ways, TREC is similar to the SREC program, with the difference being that it will be worth less and will be divided into four levels, each of which will determine which solar project will receive a specific percentage of the TREC value.
TREC is still a proposal, but the arguments for transitioning away from the current SREC program are market volatility and the desire to reduce the cost to ratepayers, since the SREC program is funded by increases in electricity rates, which is why the SREC program is being phased out.
Net metering allows customers to receive the full retail value of the electricity generated by their solar system over and above their home’s energy consumption. This is known as “net metering credit.”
When your home’s electricity production exceeds its consumption, the utility meter spins and credits the account of the home’s owner for the excess energy that has been pumped from your home to the grid.
At the end of a 12-month period, you will be reimbursed for any credits that you have not used to offset the cost of purchasing electricity from a utility when you need it (for example, at night). You will also be reimbursed for any credits that you have not used.
Federal Renewable Energy Tax credit, and Tax Exemptions.
Those who purchase and install a rooftop solar panel system in the United States are eligible for the Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credit, which is also known as the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC).
Qualification for the ITC means that you will be able to claim 26 percent of the total cost of your rooftop solar system on your federal tax return if your system qualifies. As a result, if you spend $10,000 on your system, you will owe $2,600 less in federal taxes.
It was originally established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and the program has been extended on a number of occasions over the years, with the most recent extension taking effect in 2016 for a five-year period. This final extension reduces the percentage of the cost of your system that is covered by the ITC by one percentage point for each year that passes. This percentage is currently at 26 percent, with a final reduction to 10 percent in 2022.
In addition to the ITC, the state of New Jersey offers two additional solar tax exemptions. Sales tax exemptions for solar energy equipment, which allow you to purchase solar energy equipment without paying sales tax; and a property tax exemption, which deducts the difference between the total assessed value of the property before and after a renewable energy system is installed.
Loans, Lease and PPAs
When a solar energy system is installed in a New Jersey home, there are a variety of payment options and solar plans to choose from to assist you in making your decision.
- Solar Purchase: In this case, you simply purchase the solar energy system up front. Due to the fact that you are the system’s owner, you are eligible for all of the incentives that have been discussed thus far.
- Solar Loan: A monthly payment loan is given to the installer, the utility, or a specialized solar finance company to enable you to purchase your solar system again. The fact that you are still the owner of the system means that you are still eligible for the incentives.
- Solar Lease: A contract under which the company leases the solar panels that have been installed at your residence in exchange for a fixed monthly payment. Due to the fact that the company retains ownership of the system, the owner is not eligible to claim tax breaks or SRECs, but is able to avoid the upfront costs associated with system installation.
- Power Purchase Agreement (PPA): It’s very similar to a Solar Lease, but with a more flexible payment structure based on $/MWh. You will only be charged if the unit generates energy.
Finding A Solar Installer That’s Right For You
Many websites can assist you in compiling a list of potential contractors.
Take, for example, New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program (NJCEP), which provides an online list of over a hundred state-approved commercial and residential installers for you to begin your search.
Create a list of potential installers based on their previous work experience. You should inquire as to the following: the number of systems the contractor has installed; license; accreditation; and, of course, price. Obtaining at least three quotations is always a recommended practice when shopping for a contractor in any industry.
Decide on what you want, then compare bids based on factors such as hardware, installation costs, utility connection costs, permits, and warranty coverage. Unlike a rooftop system, a ground-mounted system will not have the same price as a rooftop system; however, the warranty, as mandated by NJCEP, must cover the system for at least five years.
Being well-informed is the most effective way to safeguard yourself against a negative experience in the future. Consult with friends and family, read reviews, and speak with representatives from the companies. Online review sites make it simple to determine whether a company is great or terrible at a glance, and you can Google companies to ensure that they are reputable, have the appropriate certifications, and are not currently involved in any legal proceedings.
That goes above and beyond simply being familiar with the organization. Being familiar with the solar system’s components and terminology is a good idea at the very least. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know:
- The kilowatt-hour, abbreviated as kWh, is the unit of measurement for how much energy you consume.
- Watts are units of measurement for how much energy a system is capable of producing.
- In solar energy, panels are the physical devices that capture light energy from the sun and convert it into direct current.
- Inverters convert direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC), which is the type of electricity required by your home.
- Wires and cables carry the electricity from the panel to the inverter and then to your home.
- Disconnects, both alternating current and direct current, prevent power from reaching a device.
Get Multiple Opinions
Make sure to obtain multiple quotes after you have gained knowledge. Different companies may not only offer better prices, but they may also choose to approach the installation in a different way, providing you with a selection of arrays to consider. Using this method, you’ll be able to choose the one that best meets your requirements in terms of budget, panel types, and even the aesthetics of the installation.
Look For A Relationship, Not A Sale
Inquire whether the installer offers warranties on their work, whether they offer the option of purchasing long-term maintenance or other perks, and whether you feel comfortable discussing your concerns with them. An aggressive salesperson may talk quickly and sound good, but that does not make for a successful long-term relationship. With tens of thousands of dollars changing hands, and the fact that it involves your home and livelihood, you want someone with whom you can establish long-term trust and rely on for the long haul.
In short, when choosing a company, price is not always the most important factor to consider. Because this is an addition to your home, something that will cost a lot of money but will add a lot of value, and will almost certainly increase the marketability of your home when the time comes to sell, don’t be afraid to take your time and consider all of your options. The return on investment (ROI) may be straightforward to calculate on paper, and determining how much money you will make over the course of 15 years is a straightforward math problem, but it is impossible to predict what changes may occur in your life in five years. Your company and their product will need to provide you with assurance that they will continue to support you when the time comes.
Best Solar Companies in NJ: Top Picks
Green Power Energy Review
The company Green Power Energy is the best in the state if you want a system that is custom-built for your needs. They provide their expertise in the design and installation of high-performance solar systems, as well as in the entire engineering, procurement, and construction process.
GPE has been in business since 2009, and their consultants have consistently received the highest ratings on several solar review websites, with an average rating of 5/5 stars. In addition, they have alliances with Panasonic, LG, and Tesla, and are certified installers for Tesla’s Powerwall. They have a NABCEP certificate and a BBB, A+ grade, which makes them valuable.
Green Power has extensive experience in residential, commercial, and agricultural solar projects, and they are able to handle any scope of work. They also provide an industry-leading 25-year warranty on all labor, as well as on a number of their products.
Evoke Solar Review
Evoke Solar distinguishes itself by being the highest-rated certified installer of SunPower products in New Jersey, a nationwide giant manufacturer with a global reach.
This company began operations in 2013 and is currently present in three different states. Every aspect of the project is handled by them, including a free initial analysis as well as permitting, design and engineering work, interconnection with the utility, installation, rebate applications, and permit approvals after the installation is complete.
It has been their pleasure to design ground and rooftop projects for residential, commercial, and agricultural clients. Their NABCEP-certified designers and installers adhered to the highest industry standards, as evidenced by their awards. Furthermore, their elite dealer partnership with SunPower ensures that you will receive high-quality products at the most competitive prices.
Impact Solar Review
Impact Solar LLC was founded in 2015, and their dedication to providing excellent customer service has earned them a spot in almost every top solar companies review.
The entire installation project is carried out by a NABCEP-certified installer and a licensed electrician to ensure that the NEC and local codes are followed. Additionally, their 10-year workmanship and leak-proof warranty, as well as 24-hour monitoring, distinguishes their bids from the competition. The Better Business Bureau has awarded the company an A+ rating.
Trinity Solar Review
Trinity Solar is a national installer that was established in 1994 and operates in eight states. The company has over 1500 employees.
It is only in New Jersey that they have installed more than 35.000kW of capacity, making them one of the most experienced companies in the state. Design, permitting, interconnection, installation, SREC brokerage, and finance are all handled by Trinity’s specialized departments. Trinity also offers a variety of other services.
They have over 50.000 residential installations under their belt and are accredited with a NABCEP certificate, a silver LG pro partnership, and an A rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Solar Me Review
Solar Me is the go-to company in New Jersey for residential and community solar energy system installations.
Solar Me stands out in every review that has been written about them because they have a small team that is focused on the customer. They have been in business since 2014 and have completed over 250 projects, making them qualified to service any residential solar system.
Their projects are guaranteed to be turnkey, and they provide high-quality hardware solutions at competitive prices because they handle all of the permits and paperwork for you. Solar Me has been awarded the NABCEP’s gold standard for solar installers, as well as an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Momentum Solar Review
Momentum Solar is one of the fastest growing solar companies in the world, and it is the only one on this list that is based in Jersey. The Better Business Bureau has given the company an A+ rating. They also make charitable contributions to local non-profits, such as the Beauty Foundation, which supports cancer research in Jersey. They also provide free installation, good insurance, and tree removal services, among other things.
The technologically advanced automobile manufacturer is also a major manufacturer of solar panels, solar installations, and batteries. Despite the fact that they tend to be more expensive per kW, they do provide an impressive range of configurations and styles, including some very high-end options such as solar roofing, which are not available elsewhere (a system where the tiles on your roof are the solar components, no extra hardware or visable panels)
User satisfaction is extremely high, and the site consistently ranks among the top ten sites in the country. In addition to SunPower, another major player in the market, SolarWorld is dedicated to providing the best solar panels available, with some of the highest efficiencies and longest warranties in the industry. But their financing options are not as strong as those offered by competitors, and the efficiency comes at a high cost.
Its systems, such as full home energy monitoring that integrates with their home security package and integration with Amazon Echo, are what Vivant takes pride in as the second largest installer in the country. They also provide long-term maintenance as well as competitive interest rates on loans.
It has the advantage of being the largest installer in the United States, which allows it to offer competitive rates. The quality of local installers varies greatly from place to place, resulting in a mixed bag of feedback, as is typical of any large corporation. However, as with any large corporation, it can feel impersonal at times. Having said that, those installers will have the support of a large corporation behind them, which will help to reduce the likelihood of supply issues or concerns about product quality.