Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE: PEG) said July 31 that it will ask the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) for approval to invest up to $883m to expand the utility’s Solar 4 All and solar loan effort to develop an additional 233 MW of solar capacity.
The program expansion should create about 300 jobs per year over the next five years. PSEG President, Chairman and CEO Ralph Izzo made the announcement in Hackensack, N.J., as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie participated in a groundbreaking for subsidiary Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G).
The utility is converting a dormant Hackensack brownfield site into a solar farm capable of generating more than 1 MW, the company said in a statement.
“New Jersey is a national leader in the solar industry,” Christie said. “Solar investment projects like the Hackensack Solar Farm are an integral part of our state’s renewable energy portfolio, increasing New Jersey’s solar capacity, creating jobs and securing the protection of our precious environmental resources,” the governor added.
When the current Solar 4 All program is complete early next year, PSE&G will have created about 175 direct jobs each year for the last three years and spent $300m with more than a dozen companies that are either headquartered or have a presence in New Jersey while developing 80MWs of solar capacity, the company said.
PSE&G’s new solar proposal will call for investing up to $690m to develop another 136 MWs through its Solar 4 All program to build more grid-connected solar projects on landfills, brownfields and other underutilized properties (90MW), on warehouse roofs (20MW) and on large parking lots (25MW). There is also a 1 MW pilot program for solar projects that test and demonstrate emerging solar technologies such as solar energy storage.
The company also is seeking to help develop another 97 MW through the third installment of its Solar Loan program. This investment, that will help finance solar systems on homes and businesses in PSE&G’s electric service territory, could total up to $193 million, depending on the price of solar renewable energy credits.
“These proposals build on the success of our current programs,” Izzo said.