New Jersey Solar: 5 Reasons Why New Jersey is the Best Place in the Country to Go Solar (UPDATED)

By Matthew Wheeland - June 9, 2010

$5,000 – that’s how much you could be getting paid in New Jersey this year, just for having solar panels on your roof.

It may come as a surprise, but New Jersey has the best financial incentives in the country for home solar power. The combination of high electricity rates, the federal tax credit, and solar renewable energy credits (which pay you for producing renewable energy) means a typical solar array will pay for itself in just 4 years. After that it’s free electricity and, thanks to the renewable energy credit market, a viable source of income for the next 11 years.

Even without a solar rebate, NJ beats every other state, even sunny California (where solar is immensely popular):


The two left columns show New Jersey solar payback time with and without a state rebate. No rebate = no problem.

Why is the payback time so fast? Here are the 5 reasons why New Jersey is the best place in the country to go solar:

1. Electricity in NJ is expensive

The typical cost of electricity in NJ is $0.19 / kWh, compared to the US average of $0.11 / kWh. That means that the average electricity bill in New Jersey is around $190-$228 per month. An average-sized solar array will cover most of this, knocking about $175 / month off of that bill.

2. The Federal Solar Tax Credit puts 30% back in your pocket*

The Federal solar tax credit is a tax credit for 30% of the total system cost. While you’ll have to shell out the money up front, at the end of the year you will get a tax credit of $10,500 for a $35,000 system (assuming you have tax liability for that year–otherwise it will rollover into another next tax year). Confusing? Yes. But don’t worry – your solar installer can help you with the right forms, and you can always consult your accountant.

3. SRECs turn your roof into an ATM*

Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECS) are credits you get for producing renewable energy. A home accrues 1 credit for every 1,000 kWh of solar energy produced, and each credit is currently worth around $650. We’ve estimated that the average home will produce about$5,000 worth of SRECs on average per year. A new solar energy system is eligible to produce SRECs for 15 years, meaning that an average roof could earn over $75,000 by selling credits over that time period.

4. You’re getting a 15-30% discount on panels and installation with group discounts

Although we can’t disclose our south New Jersey PURE rate for solar just yet**, we can tell you the price for our last New Jersey solar campaign: $5.54 / DC watt. If you went to a local big box store for solar today you would see prices around $8 per DC watt–or $17,958 more for an average sized system. Our group discount is typically around 15% off competitive market rates, although in New Jersey we anticipate it will be considerably more than that.

5. If you don’t want to purchase, you can go solar for $0 down.

Our local installation partner offers PPA-financing through SunRun, which means that you can install a system for $0 out of pocket.

Even though it’s our job to bring you good deals, we’re blown away by how good solar in New Jersey looks right now. There’s no better time to make the investment, especially since you can start generating SRECs as soon as the system is installed.

Want to evaluate the numbers for yourself? Use our calculator to estimate the cost of solar panels for your home. Want access to the PURE group discounts on solar? Sign up now! It’s free.

Stay tuned, as we’ll be writing more about solar in New Jersey soon. You can also learn more about our Southern NJ Solar Campaign.

* We are not tax professionals, so please make sure to consult your accountant on the tax implications of a solar installation. Additionally, please be aware that these calculations are based on several assumptions, including the future cost of electricity and value of SRECs. Yearly SREC payments have been updated in this post based on the most up-to-date information we have.

**PURE discounted member pricing for southern New Jersey will be announced on Monday (June 14). Sign up here to be among the first to get PURE exclusive pricing details.

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