On October 15, 2013, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (the Board) will begin accepting applications for solar projects under Subsection (q) of the New Jersey Solar Act (the Act). See N.J.S.A. 48:3-87(q).
The Act was signed into law by Governor Christie in 2012. Section (q) of the Act establishes eligibility and application requirements for solar generation facilities that are not: net-metered, an on-site generation facility, qualified for net metering aggregation, or certified as being located on a brownfield, historic fill or closed sanitary facility.
The Board must designate these projects as “connected to the distribution system” in order to qualify to generate Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). The last application period for Board designation was from May 15, 2013 to May 31, 2013.
In order to obtain approval or conditional approval for a solar project under Subsection (q) of the Act, the developer of the proposed project must file an application with the Board for energy year (EY) 2014, 2015 or 2016. The proposed system must be 10 megawatts (MWs) or less, be the only facility proposed for interconnection to the grid at the specified interconnection point, all SREC registration requirements must be fulfilled, and the developer must file an escrow notice with the Board.
The Board requires a notice escrow of $10,000 per MW of a proposed project’s capacity. If a project is rejected by the Board, the escrow will be reimbursed to the facility in full. If a project is approved and enters commercial operation, the escrow will be reimbursed to the facility in full. However, if a project is approved but does not enter commercial operation, the escrow will be forfeited in full to New Jersey.
The Board is accepting applications for EYs 2014, 2015 and 2016 on a first-in-time basis until 80 MW is approved for each EY. During the May 2013 application period, the Board approved 11 applications for EY 2014 solar projects submitted under Subsection (q) of the Act totaling 68 MW of capacity. The Board also approved 11 applications for EY 2015 totaling 31.2 MW of capacity and three applications for EY 2016 totaling 20.6 MW of capacity.
Eight applications were denied. All of the application denials were a result of developers failing to fully comply with the Board’s application and escrow requirements.
The Board announced that it will begin accepting additional applications for solar projects under Subsection (q) of the Act on October 15, 2013. Solar developers seeking Board-approval should ensure that they are in compliance with all Board application requirements including those related to escrow prior to submission.