Solar News July 21, 2021

Solar news: July 9th, 2021

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In this week’s news roundup, we discuss an update to state solar incentives in New Jersey and the possibility for several new community solar projects in Louisiana. 

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New Jersey passes new legislation to support community and rooftop solar

New Jersey state representatives recently passed two pieces of legislation to support the state’s goal of achieving 100% renewable energy by 2050. The first bill, S2605, will establish a successor program to the state’s Solar Renewable Energy Credit program. The new program will focus on incentivizing the development of utility scale solar arrays, but will also feature incentives for behind the meter solar arrays as well. Specifically, the law aims to incentivize 750 MW of community solar projects as well as 3,750 MW of residential solar projects. S2605 also revises the state’s regulations on sites that can be used for large scale solar arrays with the aim of preserving agricultural land and other protected areas. Crucially, the exact incentives that will help achieve these goals have not yet been determined by the Board of Public Utilities.

The second bill, S3484, focuses on increasing solar capacity in New Jersey by allowing a limited amount of solar arrays to be placed on unpreserved farmland with the condition that this land will be used for both farming and solar production. The cap on solar capacity for this program is 200 MW.  Using farmland for both solar and agriculture (also known as agrivoltaics) has been shown by several studies to improve crop yield for a variety of plant species. 

Seven large scale community solar projects proposed in southeast Louisiana 

Several utility scale solar providers have recently proposed community solar projects in rural Louisiana. The combined value of these projects is estimated to be one billion dollars, with a combined size of 940 MW. If these proposals are enacted, this would double the number of community solar projects in Louisiana. Currently, these projects are seeking additional incentives from Louisiana’s department of natural resources before moving forwards. 

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