Senator Bob Smith SENATOR BOB SMITH  

17th Legislative District  

Proud to be serving the residents of Franklin, Highland Park, Milltown, New Brunswick, North Brunswick and Piscataway
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 THE GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
 THE GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
 THE GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
 THE GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY


Chair of the Senator Environment and Energy Committee, Sen. Bob Smith, talks about the biggest environmental and energy issues facing New Jersey and how he plans to work with the next Governor to overhaul NJ's environmental and energy policies.


Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Environment and Energy Committee Chair Bob Smith joined advocates at a State House news conference to celebrate the passage of compromise legislation to expand the protection of open space in New Jersey.






216 Stelton Road
Suite E-5
Piscataway NJ 08854
Phone: 732-752-0770
Fax:732-752-1590
Email: senbsmith@njleg.org

SOLAR ENERGY

The sun has been providing New Jersey with an incredible amount of power, solar power that is. New Jersey has had many scientific firsts. Many of the major achievements in the field of solar happened right here in the Garden State. The highlights are as follow:

  • 1931 - Inventor Thomas Alva Edison of Menlo Park, New Jersey foresees solar energy as a major source of future energy
  • 1940 - The first patent for a silicon cell by Russell Ohl, an electrochemist at Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey
  • 1954 - The first practical solar cells are invented at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey by three scientists - Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller and Gerald Pearson
  • 1958 – The first practical use of PV cells is the satellite Vanguard I. The satellite is produced at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, powered by solar cells made by the prestigious U.S. Army Signal Corps Research and Development Laboratory there, due to an unrelenting Dr. Hans Ziegler.
  • 1973 - The terrestrial solar industry is born at a gathering of scientists in Cherry Hill, NJ - The U.S. began terrestrial PV research and development as a result of recommendations of the Cherry Hill Conference.
  • 1974 - Dr. David Carlson invents the first thin-film solar cell, using amorphous silicon, at RCA Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey
  • 1975 – Dr. Elliot Berman invents a method that reduces the cost of solar cells from $100 per watt to $20 per watt, making them practical for terrestrial applications for the first time. He convinces Exxon Corp. to start the first solar production company, Solar Power Corporation, in Linden and Florham Park, New Jersey
  • (Source MSEIA)

The use of solar energy has not only provided clean, locally-produced energy, but has also brought jobs into New Jersey. On July 23, 2012 Senate Bill 1925 was signed into Public Law 2012, Chapter 24. As sponsor of this legislation, Senator Smith worked diligently with the legislature and the stakeholders to craft legislation that would bring stability to the solar market, increase our use of a clean, domestically produced energy source and ensure the continuation of manufacturing and installation jobs for many New Jersey residents, while keeping costs down for electric ratepayers.

New Jersey is now known as an international leader in solar energy production – making it an excellent growth forum at a time when other industries are struggling. Part of New Jersey’s success with solar energy can be credited to solar renewable energy credits (‘SRECs’). An SREC is 1 megawatt-hour of electricity generated from an eligible renewable system and may be sold on the open market. 174 megawatts of solar energy were installed in New Jersey in the first quarter of 2012 – more than in any other state.

Solar power has become so popular in New Jersey that the supply of solar energy has grown faster than the demand from energy companies – who are required to purchase a minimum amount of their energy from solar supplies each year. Rather than allowing this market’s growth to stagnate and the production of clean and domestically-produced solar energy to slow, we need to continue to supply incentives for New Jerseyans to purchase and install solar equipment, while keeping costs down for electric ratepayers. This law is a great step in avoiding another bust of New Jersey’s solar market.

New Jersey, which is second in the nation in solar energy production, has seen a boom and bust cycle in solar energy development in the past few years. According to Flett Exchange, an energy brokerage firm, the price of solar renewable energy certificates, whether it is a household rooftop panel or a solar farm – reached an all time high of nearly $700, only to plummet to its lowest rate of under $90, as new solar installations have flooded the market.

This law has brought stability to the solar market and will increase the demand for solar energy by increasing the amount of SRECs that the energy companies must purchase. The state can then continue to encourage development of solar installations and provide new life to the solar job market which includes both manufacturing and installation in New Jersey. According to the Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association, there are more than 10,000 New Jersey residents working in the solar industry. It was therefore imperative that this legislation be passed so that it would stabilize the market to protect and secure these jobs. It has done so and SRECs currently trade at $130-$150 per SREC which provides sufficient incentive to continue a vibrant solar energy sector of our economy.

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