The Solar Electric Power Association announced yesterday that Public Service Electric and Gas Co. ranks third among U.S. utilities for the amount of solar capacity added within its electric service area in 2012. This annual ranking, which identifies the companies that are integrating solar into the nation's power grid, is part of SEPA's sixth annual Utility Solar Rankings report. This is the fourth consecutive year that PSE&G has ranked in the top three among U.S. utilities for solar integration.
According to SEPA, there were 144.5 megawatts-ac of solar capacity installed in PSE&G's service area during 2012. PSE&G's Solar 4 All™ and Solar Loan programs built or helped finance about 39 megawatts-ac of solar capacity in 2012, or more than 25 percent of the total. PSE&G electric customers installed the remaining solar capacity independently and interconnected it to the PSE&G electric grid.
Joe Forline, PSE&G's vice president - customer solutions, said that PSE&G's ranking illustrates the strong support for solar in New Jersey.
"The fact that we have been in the top three of the SEPA rankings for four consecutive years shows that New Jersey businesses and homeowners continue to support clean energy solutions," he said. "Thanks to smart public policy and programs like our Solar 4 All and Solar Loan initiatives, New Jersey remains a center for solar power."
"Aside from solar's well-recognized environmental benefits, it is also providing economic benefits," Forline added. " PSE&G's programs alone have created more than 1,000 direct jobs and our Solar 4 All program has provided 11 New Jersey-based companies with more than $300 million worth of work," Forline added.
SEPA's Top 10 Utility Solar Integration report covers more than 260 of the most solar-active utilities, representing more than 96 percent of the national U.S. solar electric power market. Only Pacific Gas & Electric Company and Southern California Edison bested PSE&G in the SEPA rankings for total amount of solar capacity installed in their respective service areas in 2012.
"We are pleased to once again include PSE&G on our Top 10 list, which identifies the leaders from our upcoming sixth annual Utility Solar Rankings Report," remarked Julia Hamm, president and CEO of SEPA. "In 2012 new installations resulted in almost 1,500 megawatts of additional new solar connected to the grid, a doubling in new solar capacity from two years ago. Both the number of systems and the amount of new capacity make solar electricity the fastest growing electric source in the U.S. in 2012. SEPA will continue to promote our utility leaders and encourage wide spread solar adoption to ensure a clean, diverse energy mix for the future."
PSE&G's innovative Solar 4 All and Solar Loan programs are helping to make New Jersey a national leader in solar energy. Solar 4 All will put 80 megawatts of solar power in service by mid-2013 using both large-scale centralized solar installations and pole-attached solar units in the more than 300 towns in PSE&G's electric service territory. By taking advantage of previously untapped resources – space on utility poles, unused brownfields and landfills and flattop roofs – PSE&G is adding a considerable amount of solar capacity while preserving precious New Jersey open space.
The Solar Loan program is making $247 million in financing available for qualified residential and non-residential solar projects in PSE&G electric service territory. The loan program helps to remove the financial barriers to solar installations by providing a ready source of financing for about 50 percent of the project cost and allows customers to use the solar credits (SRECs) that the solar systems generate to repay the loan. As of 12/31/12, the PSE&G Solar Loan had financed 67MW-dc of solar capacity in New Jersey representing $209 million in investment.