The New Jersey SREC program runs on a June 1 to May 31 Energy Year (EY), referred to by the year in which it ends. EY2011 concluded last month on May 31, 2011. The final EY2011 SRECs will be minted for May 2011 generation beginning next week, commencing the end of year true up period. Load-Serving Entities will have until the end of September to finalize their purchases to meet state requirements. Though most of the remaining 2011 SRECs will be sold in the July auction, SRECTrade will continue to host auctions for remaining EY2011 SRECs in August and September. Given the shortage of EY2011 SRECs, prices should remain high, trading near the $640 mark that has cleared throughout the year.
According to the BPU, as of April 30, 2011, there was 330 MW of solar installed in the state. Due to interconnection and other delays, by the end of May, the actual number of solar facilities that were active in the SREC market was 310 MW. A common misperception in the SREC market relates to how supply and demand interact. Since there was a 255 MW requirement in New Jersey for 2011, it would appear that the state would experience an oversupply of SRECs having achieved 310 MW by the end of EY2011. In fact, New Jersey will fall short of its SREC requirement by approximately 40,000 SRECs. Here’s how we arrive at that number:
The New Jersey RPS requires a fixed number of SRECs each year:
EY2011 RPS Requirement = 306,000 SRECs or MWhs
The common annual production factor used in New Jersey is 1200 MWh per MW of installed capacity:
306,000 MWh / 1200 = 255 MW of required capacity
It is important to keep in mind that this is the capacity required to be running on average throughout the year. At the beginning of EY2011, on June 1, 2010, there was 133 MW of solar installed and active. Using the 310 MW installed and active at the end of the year, we can estimate the average capacity:
EY2011 Average Active Solar Capacity: (133 MW + 310 MW) / 2 = 222 MW
Converting back into SRECs, we can estimate the number of SRECs produced through EY2011:
222 MW * 1200 = 266,000 MWhs or SRECs
With this estimate, we can calculate the shortfall in New Jersey for EY2011:
306,000 SRECs required – 266,000 SRECs projected = 40,000 SREC shortfall
This is the same number projected by the BPU in the April report on the status of the SREC program. This should be good news for market participants with EY2011 SRECs, however, this is only a 13% shortfall and as the compliance period comes to an end in September, it is unclear if outside factors may influence pricing as the year closes out. For example, some buyers may opt to pay the SACP instead of procuring SRECs in the market. In other cases, prices may be influenced by oversupply concerns and falling prices for EY2012. With 310 MW active as a starting point and a 368 MW requirement for EY2012, the picture is not as bright for the future of New Jersey’s SREC market. A potential 2012 oversupply will most likely drive prices down in August when the first 2012 SRECs are created for June generation.
With 3 months left for buyers to procure EY2011 SRECs, it is unclear if market prices will finish the year on a strong note despite the under-supply.