If you’re a homeowner in New Jersey, did you know about all the incredible incentives available to you if you decide to invest in solar power? Beyond the fantastic energy savings, there’s a lot of potential for tax savings and more.

If you’re new to renewable energy or need to learn more about solar incentives in NJ, we’re sharing all the ins and outs below in this detailed guide. By getting through this guide, you’ll know what benefits you qualify for and how to get started.

Key Takeaways

  1. New Jersey offers a range of solar incentives to homeowners, including the Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) program, which pays homeowners for the solar energy their panels produce. However, the SREC program has been closed effective April 30, 2020.
  2. New Jersey also offers a Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Systems, which exempts the added home value from solar panel installations from property taxes.
  3. The state’s Clean Energy Program provides financial incentives to homeowners who install high-efficiency or renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels. The program offers rebates, grants, and financing options to help reduce the cost of solar installation.
  4. The federal government also provides a 30% tax credit for solar installations, which can further reduce the upfront costs of installing solar panels for homeowners.
  5. Homeowners should research and compare the various solar incentives available in New Jersey to determine which programs they may be eligible for and which offer the most significant financial benefits.

What Are Solar Incentives, and How Do They Work?

What Are Solar Incentives & How Do They Work?

Solar incentives are strategies the government uses to convince more people to start using renewable energy through solar panels in their homes or businesses. These incentives could be tax credits, rebates, and more.

The purpose of solar incentives in NJ is to reduce the financial impact of the high up-front investment cost for solar panels. Most systems wind up in the $15,000-$20,000 range. These programs lessen the burden for homeowners to pay these up-front costs through incentives.

A Note About Solar Incentives in NJ

A Note About Solar Incentives in NJ

One important thing to note about green energy incentives is that, by design, they won’t last forever. The goal is to incentivize more people to participate in renewable, clean energy.

As more and more people install solar systems, incentives will begin to decrease until they eventually run out. At some point, enough people will be using solar power in New Jersey that the government won’t need to incentivize anymore, and it will phase out the programs.

New Jersey is in the first phase of solar incentives in NJ, called the Transition Incentive Program. Plans are still underway for moving into the next step for the Successor Program.

Considering this is essential, as the quicker you decide to invest, the more benefit you’ll get. If you are hesitant and wait a year or two before you finally make a move, the incentives may be lower than they are now.

State Programs

Now that you understand how incentives work let’s explore the details of solar incentives in NJ.

New Jersey Net Metering

With a net metering program, your utility will track how much power your solar panel system generates and how much energy you use each year. Anything leftover is net energy and becomes available to sell back at the full retail rate.

New Jersey’s Net Metering program lets homeowners sell their excess energy back to the power grid at the retail rate, much higher than the wholesale rate that power plants typically receive. The state’s rules dictate that the utility company must credit your next bill with that energy at the retail rate, but if you run a surplus over the entire year, they’ll cut you a check for anything left over.

This monetization is a great way to earn back money on your low energy bill. It is also a great way to prevent excess energy from going to waste.

New Jersey runs its main net metering programs through Jersey Central Power & Light and PSE&G.

TREC Program

You’re also generating a TREC for every megawatt-hour of solar power energy that your system produces. The 2018 NJ Clean Energy Act made TRECs available to sell to utilities.

The price you can get for each TREC will vary based on the system that you installed. A residential rooftop system, for example, can earn you around $90 per TREC. Let’s say your system produces 7 MWh of energy per year. Your TRECs could make you $630 back per year just for doing the work you installed them to do.

This TREC program recently replaced the state’s former SREC program, which was similar. However, this is a perfect example of an incentive program reaching its goal and end. The SREC program ended earlier than initially intended because many New Jersey residents switched to solar power quicker than expected.

Solar Investment Property Tax Exemption

Installing a solar-powered system on your property will increase your property taxes, right? Wrong!

While adding a solar panel system to your home will increase its value when it comes time to sell, it won’t hurt you while you live in it through property taxes. You are legally exempt from any higher property taxes due to your highly valuable solar system.

Solar Panel Sales Tax Exemption

Unlike home upgrades such as a new oven, garage door, or bathtub, you won’t have to pay any sales tax on your home solar system.

Sales tax is small when buying small consumer items, but that percentage can turn into quite a few dollars when purchasing something as expensive as solar panels. Luckily you get to pocket that 7% that you would otherwise be paying for something of that cost.

Low-Income Solar Programs

Back in 2019, the state of New Jersey developed a new type of solar incentive in NJ for low-income residents. This 3-year community pilot program is aimed at low- and moderate-income households who want to invest in renewable energy but face financial difficulties.

With this program, program applicants (AKA the developers) can propose solar integration plans to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, and 51% of the chosen projects must benefit these moderate- to low-income families.

NJ Clean Energy Program

The NJ Clean Energy Program is a statewide plan. Its goal is to help New Jersey residents, local governments, and business owners preserve energy. In the process, these beneficiaries save the environment and put some money back into their pockets.

While there aren’t solar rebates directly available through NJ Clean Energy Program, you can find several renewable energy resources. There are also many rebates for other energy-efficiency purchases available to New Jersey residents and businesses.

Federal Programs

There are additional benefits to investing in green energy outside solar incentives in NJ. The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit is the big one. Here’s what to know about this substantial advantage:

Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit

The most significant impact you’ll see after investing in green energy will come from the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit. Known as the ITC, this is a major perk if you decide to install photovoltaic panels on your property. The tax credit will cover 30% of the upfront cost of your solar panel, saving you thousands of dollars the year you install it.

For example, if your system costs you $20k, your solar credit would be 30%, which is a whopping $6,000.

Getting the Most Out of Solar in NJ

Getting the Most Out of Solar in NJ

Investing in solar panels for your home is a great move. Not only will you cut back your energy costs drastically for years to come, but there are also several perks available to you up-front. Only some people are aware of the solar incentives in NJ. However, deterring them from pulling the trigger and making the investment.

There’s an opportunity for enormous savings through the federal solar investment tax credit and various state incentive programs. You can sell back your unused energy, earn TRECs for every MWh of energy your system produces, and get great sales and property tax exemptions to sweeten the pot.

What are you waiting for if you’re still on the fence about investing in renewable energy? As incentive programs dwindle over time, your best bet is to act as soon as possible.

While it might seem like it, solar power isn’t new technology. The use of solar power has a long history, spanning from the 7th Century B.C. to today. The Greeks, Romans, and Chinese all started out harnessing the sun’s heat with glass and mirrors to light fires.

The history of photovoltaic energy (aka. solar cells) started back in 1876.

William Adams discovered that selenium, a chemical element, produced electricity when it was exposed to light. The selenium cells were not efficient, but they proved that light, without heat or moving parts, can be converted into electricity.

In 1953, the first silicon solar cell was discovered.

This cell actually produced enough electricity and was efficient enough to run small electrical devices! The New York Times stated that this discovery was “The beginning of a new era.”

The problem was that nobody in that era could afford solar – the cost of solar was too high.

The first solar cells were made available commercially in 1956, but were way too expensive! A one watt solar cell, was far beyond anyone’s means, and cost up to $300!

In the early 1970’s a way to lower the cost of solar cells was finally discovered.

This research was led by Exxon and helped bring the price down from $100 per watt to around $20 per watt. And the prices continued to drop…

A generation ago, the cost of solar panels was so great that it cost roughly 100 times more to produce one kilowatt of energy from solar power than it does today.

Question: If the cost of solar is dropping, shouldn’t we wait to install?

While equipment costs and soft costs (installation, permitting, operations, maintenance) will continue to fall, favorable rebates and tax incentives are set to expire soon. This means today may be your chance to get the best deal on solar panels for your home.

Other notable solar milestones…

  • 1977 – President Jimmy Carter installs solar panels on the White House.
  • 1983 – World PV production reaches 21.3 megawatts.
  • 1994 – The National Renewable Energy Laboratory creates a solar cell that was more than 30% efficient.
  • 1999 – World PV production reaches 1000 megawatts.
  • 2004 – New Jersey adopts a program promoting the use of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC).
  • 2005 – The Energy Policy Act is passed, including the 30% investment tax credit for installing new solar systems.
  • 2016 – The U.S. solar market is on pace to nearly double in size in 2016.

Update: August 29th, 2016

The U.S. installed 1,665 megawatts (MW) of solar PV in Q1 2016 to reach 29.3 gigawatts (GW) of total installed capacity, enough to power 5.7 million American homes.

There are now more than 1 million operating solar PV installations in the U.S. (90% of these projects came on-line during this decade alone). Source: SEIA

Stop searching for solar companies in NJ. Let us do the hard work for you.

We work as your solar and green energy advocate to determine if your home qualifies for solar and find the absolute best program and technology for MAXIMUM savings. To see if your home qualifies for solar, call 856-809-2744.