Amid jitters over NJ solar program, state looks for best way to maintain it

Solar panels on rooftop in Secaucus NJ

TOM JOHNSON / NJ SPOTLIGHT – With uncertainty mounting about New Jersey’s solar program, the state is exploring ways to ensure prices for energy produced by older solar projects do not fall so low the systems no longer will recover their initial investments.

That could leave hundreds of so-called legacy projects underwater, a prospect that could affect projects developed by many school systems, local governments and others built with the expectation they would deliver cheaper energy bills while producing cleaner electricity.

The issue is the latest problem arising out of a decision by the Legislature and Gov. Phil Murphy in 2018 to shut down the current method of financing solar projects — a system that paid owners of solar arrays for the electricity their projects produced. The move came after lawmakers, environmentalists and even solar advocates agreed the current program was too expensive for utility customers, who mostly footed the bill …

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