Lightstar Renewables on the growth of community solar in the US, its challenges and implementing agriPV

Lightstar Renewables appoints Jason Rossi as Vice President of Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC)

New Jersey

Community Solar Companies Ready to Invest in New Jersey 

Community Solar Companies Ready to Invest in New Jersey 

By: Lucy Bullock-Sieger, VP of Strategy, Lightstar Renewables

First and foremost, we thank President Joseph Fiordaliso and all of the staff at the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) for spearheading the ambitious clean energy goals New Jersey has committed to. In particular, I truly believe New Jersey is well-positioned for community solar (solar projects for which bill savings flow to multiple customers) as the industry has been waiting in the wings ready to invest millions of dollars into local economic development. . 

As an industry, solar has seen great success and momentum through New Jersey’s Community Solar Energy Pilot Project – in its second year over 600MW of projects applied for capacity and 24 projects have been put into operation. We welcome the Community Solar Energy Program straw proposal and are confident that the industry can meet the expectations of the BPU. 

The straw proposal released last month outlines a permanent continuation of the pilot that will have a positive three-fold impact on the community: it will provide meaningful monthly energy bills savings for low-moderate income residents, deploy investment from the community solar industry that will spur local economic growth and job creation, and provide New Jersey’s grid with more resilient solar. 

The greatest consequence of the energy crisis and a slow-down in the economy is that they have disproportionately affected low-income groups and underserved communities. Rate hikes in the US are high. Borrowing has gotten expensive. Energy bills are getting even more unaffordable. However, a permanent Community Solar Program will bring immediate relief to residents, we just need to get projects operational. 

In a recent speech, Governor Phil Murphy acknowledged community solar’s ability in “opening doors to solar for the low- and moderate-income neighborhoods which had been overlooked and bypassed for too long.” Echoing his sentiment, the potential bright spot for low-income communities is that community solar could translate into savings of up to 20% each month on their energy bills roughly $300 yearly. Cumulatively, low-income households’ savings could total $175 million a year once the program is established.

Moreover, the community solar industry has a pipeline of investments amounting to nearly $40 million that is waiting to be deployed in New Jersey as soon as the permanent program is implemented. This will put the state’s economic development and job creation on the front foot when compared to other states.

As an organization that cares for the environment and has chosen a path forward away from fossil fuels, we deeply appreciate and support Governor Murphy’s vision to accelerate the state’s 100% clean-energy goal from 2050 to 2035. At the same time, it’s critical to understand the key role community solar will play in achieving this ambitious and worthy target. To meet the original 2050 milestone, 900 MWs of community solar energy was required each year — as we work towards the new 2035 timeline, approximately more MWs will be required each year.

The beauty of community solar is that it is the fastest way to deploy clean energy with the most immediate benefits. The industry can be ready in 18 months – all that’s required is for the Board and the government to continue its momentum towards making the program permanent. Urgency on the matter is of the utmost priority so community solar can benefit underserved communities and New Jersey can accelerate the pursuit of its climate goals.

Jason Rossi, VP, EPC
Lightstar Renewables appoints Jason Rossi as Vice President of Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC)

Traditional territories of the Massachusett and Pawtucket People / Boston, Massachusetts, April 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, Lightstar Renewables announces the appointment of Jason Rossi as its new Vice President of Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC). Jason is responsible for the management of all engineering, procurement and construction duties right from the pre-development desktop review stage […]

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