That's how much my electric bill was this month. I mention this because, well, I love it. I take every opportunity to mention our solar panels and how much we've saved on our electric bill. I worship solar energy!! But apparently, Our Fair State is not on board with that- or are they?
There was an article in the Times of Trenton yesterday about New Jersey's poor management of incentives being a main reason for our lack of solar production. State Sen. Peter Inverso (R-Hamilton) wants to transfer management of our Renewable Energy program from the Board of Public Utility to the Treasury. Why, you may ask? Well, apparently only 11% of our solar energy projects approved in this state have been completed as of the end of June '04. We need to "refocus efforts... given the lack of results to date."
If you are going to complain about the current state of our progress on any issue, I think you probably should have information that's something approaching "current, " not over a year old. Solar has exploded in Our Fair State, increasing from 6 installations in 2001 to 616 now, according to the BPU. The BPU also cites our clean energy program as a model according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. I suggest the Senator asses new statistics as they come available on the increase of solar usage.
Having navigated the rebate and installation system with the guidance of an experienced solar installer, I found it easy and straightforward. The only evidence I see of Our Fair State not pushing solar power is that most people with whom I've spoken are unaware of the rebate program. Also, the only delay we had in our installation process was with getting our panels due to a world-wide shortage. Germany, in particular, has very substantial incentives and initiatives to increase their solar production, thereby increasing demand for the panels. Inverso should investigate other reasons besides mismanagement before we attack the Board's performance.
The BPU has new initiatives which have just begun, such as the "Power Crop Initiative." I find this extremely cool, especially since the debut installation was at Lee's Turkey Farm in East Windsor, near the Center of NJ. Incentives, investors and credits all cover the initial installation and upkeep costs of installing solar panels on large buildings on farms- no trees! Ideal locations! This is a wonderful program, and some credit should be paid to the BPU.
I appreciate any effort to increase solar use, and I believe that Sen. Inverso wishes to do just that. But at this point it seems premature at best, mistaken at worst to strip the Board of Public Utilities of their authority over solar incentives.