New Jersey's largest utility ramps up solar

February 10, 2009 3:32:13 PM PST
New Jersey's largest utility will install 200,000 solar panels throughout its service area in an ambitious $773 million program, the company said Tuesday. Solar panels would be installed everywhere from public schools to brownfields, Public Service Electric & Gas Co. said in a filing with the state's Board of Public Utilities.

"The program strongly supports New Jersey's aggressive renewable energy and environmental goals and helps to strengthen the competitive solar industry in the state," said Ralph LaRossa, president and COO of PSE&G. "By partnering with solar developers, we will bring solar projects online more quickly and cost effectively. We will also make solar energy available to every neighborhood in our service area."

PSE&G's supplies power to residents over an area of about 2,600 square miles, serving nearly three-quarters of the state's population. The company said the project would be the largest pole-attached solar installation in the country.

The program would cost consumers about 10 cents a month on utility bills in the first year, and as much as 35 cents a month in five years. It would meet about 7 percent of the state's renewable portfolio standards requirements through 2020, according to PSE&G.

State's are being required to generate an increasing amount of power through renewable energy, such as solar, wind, or biomass.

The 120 megawatts of solar capacity will eliminate 1.7 million tons of CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent of removing nearly 310,000 cars from the road for one year, PSE&G said in its filing.

The company said the solar initiative will mean hundreds of green jobs and will provide a boost to the solar industry, which has been hit hard by the economic downturn.

The program must still be approved by state regulators.


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