South Plainfield Supports the Development of Solar-Powered Electricity.
In 2022, the South Plainfield Mayor and Council adopted a resolution in support of the New Jersey Energy Master Plan’s provisions for encouraging the development of more solar energy capacity in the state as well as increasing the participation of low- and moderate-income groups in the use of solar energy. To that end, the South Plainfield Green Team is spreading the word about the availability of solar-powered electricity to all residents, not only to those who are in a position to install solar panels on their homes.
Community Solar for South Plainfield Residents
Have you been interested in going solar, but have not been able to? South Plainfield residents are now able to participate in the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ newest clean energy program, community solar. The program is designed so that everyone can access the great benefits of solar energy, regardless of housing or financial situation. Rather than placing solar panels on your roof, you subscribe to a large solar array located locally.
What is Community Solar?
Community Solar is a New Jersey Clean Energy Program overseen by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. The program’s goals are to lower barriers to renewable energy access and reduce energy costs for any New Jersey resident, including renters and homeowners.
A Community Solar project is a solar array whose energy generation is divided among multiple participating subscribers. Community solar subscribers sign up to power their home from electricity delivered through the utility and generated by a solar installation that is located near the subscriber’s own property. As a subscriber, you will receive a dollar credit on your utility bill for the portion of power generated by the array on your behalf. Subscribers pay for the solar energy at a discounted cost. Community solar projects must be approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
Enrolling in this program does not change your utility provider, PSE&G .
Why subscribe and who can participate?
The benefits of subscribing to a Community Solar project are two-fold: you’ll save money and will be supporting New Jersey’s transition to cleaner energy.
This is an ideal opportunity for renters, homeowners with shaded roofs, people who live in high rises, or anyone else that is unable to install their own solar array to participate and benefit from the generation of renewable energy. If you pay an energy bill and live in a community solar-powered community like South Plainfield, you can enroll.
How does it work?
- A community solar project delivers energy from the panels located remotely in the community, like on a commercial rooftop, landfill, or parking lot canopy, to the local power grid.
- Your household can subscribe to a project within your utility area for the amount of electricity your home uses.
- You will receive a credit on your bill to reflect discounted solar energy from the array’s generated energy (view the sample bill for the project you want to subscribe to).
How do I save money?
As a subscriber you save money by receiving solar bill credits to offset your payment to the utility and then you pay the community solar developer for those credits at a discount (i.e. in projects where you have a 25% discount, for every $1.00 solar credit applied to your bill, you only pay the developer $0.75)
What projects are supported by South Plainfield and available to residents?
Capacity for a community solar project is limited and available on a first come first served basis.
|Projects||Discount Level||Spots Available||Enrollment Link||USE Code||Project Specific FAQ||Sample Bill|
|Solar Landscape||25%||85 LMI 0 Non-LMI(may join waitlist)||SolarLandscape.com||
NJ residents can also check Sustainable Jersey’s Project Finder which lists projects and standard discount levels available to residents and is searchable by zip code.
*LMI refers to Low-to-Moderate Income communities. Households with a combined income that qualifies as low-to-moderate; Residents of affordable housing who pay their own energy bill including recipients of Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program; OR Recipients of government assistance programs such as SNAP, LIHEAP, USF, LIFELINE, etc.
What is considered LMI or Low to Moderate Income?
As part of this state program, each project must reserve at least 51% of its project capacity to Low to moderate income households (LMI). This rule ensures a just clean energy transition for all communities giving LMI communities time and space to participate in a project.
LMI refers to households with a combined income that qualifies as low-to-moderate; Residents of affordable housing who pay their own energy bill including recipients of Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program; OR Recipients of government assistance programs such as SNAP, LIHEAP, USF, LIFELINE, etc.
The chart below will help give you an impression to see if you qualify as an LMI subscriber:
LMI Data Source HUD Income Limits Documentation Center
Are there any fees or credit requirements necessary to participate?
There are no sign up, cancellation fees, or credit requirements associated with the projects South Planfield supports. The subscriber only pays for the discounted solar credits allocated to their electric account.
How do I enroll?
You can use the enrollment link listed in the table above to enroll into a project. You will need to provide your utility information (online username/password for your electric account or an account number depending on the project), a form of payment, and basic account information to enroll.
Do I need to put anything up on my roof?
No! That's the beauty of Community Solar: you get all the benefits of clean energy without installing anything at your home. The energy produced by a project is sent to PSE&G and distributed across the energy grid, with the lower cost energy being attributed to the Community Solar subscriber.
How do I pay my energy bills?
Refer to the sample bill of the project you’re interested in enrolling with.
Two Bills: In New Jersey, community solar subscribers receive two bills—one from the community solar developer for their portion of solar energy, and the other from the utility for standard utility charges and any electricity they’ve consumed in excess of their portion of the solar project’s production.
Summary Bill: Some developers and subscriber management companies like Arcadia are providing a one summary bill experience where the subscriber provide access to their account with PSE&G. They pay Arcadia, who coordinates secure payment of the regular bill minus the discount and provides the subscriber with a summarized bill. This option is only available with automatic payments and helps align the timing of the subscriber experience.
What do I do in case of a power outage? Are you replacing my utility company?
Even if you participate in a Community Solar project, PSE&G will still provide electric delivery service, and will still be responsible for service reliability and restoration. If the lights go out, you should call PSE&G.
What if I move or want to leave the project?
No problem, contact your community solar project if you’d like to consider moving your community solar subscription to a new location. You can also leave the project at any time, with no penalties or fees.
South Plainfield’s Support of Community Solar
South Plainfield is excited to support New Jersey’s Community Solar Program. South Plainfield passed a resolution to provide outreach support to community solar projects that provide the following benefits to the community:
- At least 51% of the overall solar generation of the project is reserved for low-and moderate-income residents
- At discount of at least 20% on the electricity from the community solar project for our residents that qualify as low-to-moderate income
- A discount of at least 15% on the electricity from the community solar project for South Plainfield residents that don’t qualify as low-to-moderate income
- No fee escalators or cancellation fees
- Provide additional benefits to the community through free job training opportunities
Contact our representative from each community solar project listed above:
- Jennifer Schneider, Solar Landscape, firstname.lastname@example.org , 732.333.8573