The New Jersey Office of Clean Energy (NJ OCE) recently released installed solar capacity figures as of July 31, 2011. After the first two months into Energy Year (EY) 2012, the state has averaged a rate just over 30 MW/month, bringing the total installed capacity to nearly 400 MW, up from 339.6 MW at the end of EY2011. These figures exceed the estimated average capacity required to meet the state’s 2012 target of approximately 370 MW.
The rapid growth in capacity corresponds with a sharp decline in prices for 2012 spot trading, with the September auction clearing at $166.79. The estimated average installed capacity needed to meet the EY2013 requirements is 500 MW. To reach this target by the beginning of EY2013, the state would only have to install an additional 100 MW, or an average of 10 MW/month for the remainder of EY2012.
The surge in installed capacity is partially due to the anticipated expiration of the federal 1603 grant, an upfront cash payment for commercial projects of up to 30% of system costs, at the end of the calendar year. As more projects aim to take advantage of the grant before it expires, the total installed capacity will continue to approach the EY2013 target.
Upon their return from recess, state legislators will consider an amendment to the RPS to pull 2014 and future year requirements forward one year in attempt to prevent a prolonged oversupply in the SREC market. The chart below demonstrates monthly installed capacity and corresponding increases since December 2010.