Record Highs and Lows in New Jersey’s Uncertain Solar Market

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New Jersey’s solar market hit record highs on the development side in the face of record lows in Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) prices during the first quarter of 2012. A record 685 solar projects were installed in March 2012, totaling 41,758 kW of solar capacity, shortly after another record high of 84,997 kW of installed solar capacity in January. The first quarter of 2012 recorded 165,390 kW of installed solar capacity, which is more than four times the first quarter of 2011 at 41,027 kW, and nearly seven times the first quarter of 2010 of 24,616 kW. In fact, the first three months of 2012 represent more than 22 percent of the 730,326 kW of installed solar capacity during the past decade.

This record pace of development is contrary to the SREC price signals that hit record lows during the same period. Bloomberg reports that in April, New Jersey’s SREC prices dropped below $100/mWh for the first time ever. Reports from the New Jersey Clean Energy Program through March 31, 2012 show SREC monthly lows for the quarter from $100-$115/mWh, with the weighted average from $343-$374/mWh. The most recent SREC auction in February 2012 yielded a price of $171/mWh.

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