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Congratulations! You've found the ultimate guide to going solar in New Jersey

2019 Policy Grade


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Your 2019 guide to getting solar panels for your home in New Jersey

This page is a complete guide to the complicated and sometimes confusing process of installing solar panels on your New Jersey home. Since there's a lot to consider, we've separated the page into sections to help you find what you are looking for. If you find this page useful, please share it with someone who might also find it interesting!

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** What's new for 2019 **

New Jersey has long been a leader in renewable energy, and as of 2018 the state ranks #5 in the nation for total generation from solar panels. More importantly, New Jersey ranks #1 in our state solar power rankings, because the incentives here are so good, homeowners in New Jersey can't help bu make tons of money by installing solar.

But that's about to change, because the state's best solar incentive is ending soon.

Back in May of 2018, Governor Murphy signed Assembly Bill 3723, authorizing a new standard of 50% renewable energy by 2030. It was a huge success for solar, but there was a dark cloud for people who haven't yet installed solar: the Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) that have been the #1 incentive for New Jersey solar owners, will be phased out when the state hits 5.1% solar.

Currently at just under 4%, the threshold will likely be hit in 2019 or 2020, leaving precious little time for solar owners to take advantage of the program. Let's put it bluntly: If you miss out on the SREC market, you're leaving thousands of dollars on the table. The average homeowner will reap nearly $12,000 in rewards over the next 10 years from earning SRECs. It pays to go solar sooner, so get a quote for your home from local installers today.

If you want to read more about how SRECs work, skip ahead to the section about them.

The Solar Strategy section is focused on the 3 ways of paying for solar in New Jersey, so you can decide which is best for you. We've created a tool that asks you a few questions and recommends whether you should pursue a solar lease, loan, or outright purchase. Then, we provide detailed analysis of how each works.

The Solar, Step by Step section is a guide to everything that happens from before you get solar quotes to the time when the panels are on your roof and you're getting ready to claim that sweet solar tax credit.

The Policy Information section contains all our latest research on the rules set by lawmakers and the Public Utilities Commission, which determine how easy it is to go solar in New Jersey. These policies and rules govern everything from renewable energy mandates to interconnection, and have a huge effect on the viability of solar.

Finally, the Solar Incentives section includes information about money-back rebates and grants, tax credits, and tax exemptions for going solar in New Jersey.

Click any of the boxes below to go to that section of the page, or scroll down to read the page in order.

Your Solar Strategy in New Jersey

Figuring out the best way to go solar in New Jersey can be a little daunting. From loans and leases to power-purchase agreements, there are a lot of options out there. To help you pick the one that might be best, we've created the handy decision tool below.

We'll ask you a few simple questions about you and your home. Once you're done, we'll recommend a good option. Further down this page, we provide cost estimates and example return-on-investment calculations for all the various options:

How should you pay for solar?

Use our decision tool to find out!

How to pay for solar panels in New Jersey

The chart above shows the 25-year returns for an investment in solar whether you choose to purchase a system with cash or pay over time with a loan or lease. One thing it's important to note is: solar makes you a lot of money in New Jersey. Yes, we said "makes!" You see, New Jersey has a special financial incentive for encouraging homeowners to go solar, and it means thousands of dollars in your pocket for the next 20 years.

The incentive is called the Solar Renewable Energy Credit, or SREC. One SREC represents one megawatt of electricity generated from solar, and in New Jersey, you get about 6 per year. Now, the Garden State requires its utility companies to produce certain amounts of electricity from solar, and buying SRECs from solar generators helps them meet those goals. On average, a homeowner makes about $170 from the sale of an SREC (though prices vary throughout the year), so those 6 SRECs you get equal about $1,000 in your pocket, every year until 2030.

That's huge! We hope your interest is piqued, so now let's discuss that chart above. We've examined three scenarios for going solar in New Jersey, including a solar Power-Purchase Agreement (PPA), buying solar with a home loan, or paying for solar with cash. As you can see, the cash purchase option leads to the highest dollar-amount returns over time, but look a little closer. Taking a solar loan or Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit (HELOC—the orange bars) and paying for the system over time means you'll actually spend zero dollars of your own money over time, while reaping a big financial benefit in year 1.

That's because you'll be paying over time for the system, but you still get all the benefits of paying up front. In New Jersey, that means a 30% federal tax credit, energy savings, and SREC sales. With those huge incentives, you'll actually make money in the first year. And even though you'll be making loan payments for 15 years, the cost will be obliterated by the money from SRECs and electricity savings, making this investment essentially free money for having a roof and some home equity.

Lastly, take a look at the blue bars. They represent a solar Power-Purchase Agreement (PPA), which are also called third-party ownership. With a PPA, the solar installation company puts panels on your roof at no cost to you, and you make monthly payments for the energy they produce. It saves you you only about $12 per month to start, but it gets bigger over time, because the PPA payments will rise by less than the electric company's annual rate hikes. Third-party ownership is an excellent option if you don't have any equity or cash to put down, and it still saves you money!

Read more below about each of three very good options for solar in New Jersey.

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Option 1: Paying cash for solar

An outright purchase used to be the only way to get solar, and it's still the option that provides the "biggest" financial returns. The reason we put "biggest" in quotes here is because it's technically true—with rebates and tax credits, solar costs less than ever before, and the SREC market and electricity savings in New Jersey are so good that a solar installation pays itself off in just a few short years. But if you're interested in solar as an investment, taking a loan to pay for the system is a better option.

With a loan, you can make monthly payments instead of putting $16,000 down on a solar system, which means you save money on electricity as you pay down the cost of your panels. If you have equity in your home or can get a large loan with an interest rate of 4% or less, a loan is the option to go with. It's like being able to start a business that is sure to succeed, just by having a roof. Read about loans below.

If you've got cash and you prefer to pay up front, you'll have to plunk down $16,250, but tax breaks and energy savings will erase a bunch of that after just 1 year. Over 25 years, your system will have produced about $35,000 in income, after your system cost is paid back. The reason this works is that solar offsets your electricity costs—enough to save you $936 in year 1—and it just goes up from there. As the electric company raises rates, you save more and more, and more...

Here’s how the numbers work for a 5-kW rooftop solar system in New Jersey:

  • Installing a typical 5-kW solar system should start at about $16,250. That's cheaper than solar has ever been, but it still might seem like a big investment. Don’t worry, because after tax breaks and energy savings, your first-year costs will be considerably less than that.
  • The Federal government offers a great income tax credit of 30% of system costs. That's $4,875 you won't be paying to Uncle Sam this year, and it brings your first-year investment down to $11,375.
  • After the tax credit we subtract your first year’s energy savings, which we estimate to be $936. That reduces your cost after the first year to only $10,439.
  • But wait, New Jersey has that excellent SREC market we talked about above. The sale of your SRECs will net you $1,164 this year, bringing our final first-year estimate to just $9,275. That's 40% off the starting cost, just in year 1! And here's more good news: those SREC sales will continue for 15 years, which means lots of income through 2030!
  • Those electricity savings and SREC sales will quickly make your money back, and your system will pay for itself in just 6 years. You'll see a total net profit of $34,753 by the end of your panels' 25-year warranty. The internal rate of return for this investment is an amazing 18.3%. That's basically twice the return the stock market's traditional return, and it's more reliable, too!
  • And here's a nice bonus to consider: your home's value just increased by just about $22,000, too (your expected electricity savings over 20 years).
  • In addition to all that cash (and home value), you’ve created some green for the earth as well by not using electricity from fossil fuels. It's like planting 97 trees a year, every year your solar power system is humming.
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in New Jersey. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar panel system, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Option 2: Using a loan to pay for solar

You don't need $16,000 sitting around to pay for solar. As long as you have equity in your home, you can still own solar panels and reap all the benefits. Heck, even if you do have the cash, getting a loan to pay for solar is by far the best option when it comes to percentage return on investment.

That’s because, in New Jersey, using a loan to pay for solar is like investing in a business that's sure to succeed, and also earns you a tax break. You'll come out thousands ahead this year, and you'll still see a spectacular profit over the 25-year life of your system. The reason this works so well is that you're paying over time, but reaping all the benefits now. You'll get tax breaks, SRECs, and energy savings to offset the loan payments, which sounds a lot like it's too good to be true... so let's take a look at the numbers.

A solar purchase like this will make sense for you if the following is true about you and your current situation:

  • You can qulaify for a solar loan or home-equity line of credit (HELOC) for $16,250, with a fixed rate of 4% or lower and a 15-year repayment period. Don't be put off if you're offered a higher rate. It just means a tiny bit less of the thousands of dollars you'll make with solar.
  • You love making money without much risk.

Here’s how the numbers pencil out for a New Jersey homeowner who makes a solar purchase with a loan:

  • Installing a typical 5-kW solar system should start at about $16,250. That's how big your loan will need to be to cover it.
  • The electricity you'll save in the first year of operation would have cost $936, but your annual loan payments will be $1,442, meaning you would spend $506 on solar this year, but...
  • You'll also get to sell your SRECs for about $1,164, putting you $1,670 ahead for the year! But then...
  • You'll also see a huge Federal tax breaks! Uncle Sam will give you 30% of the cost of your system back as an income tax credit, which in this case means $4,875 you won't be paying the government this year.
  • All those incentives mean you'll come out $5,532 ahead after year 1, and it's clear skies from them on out. You'll continue to net over $600 per year after your loan payments, making home solar in the Garden State a $0 investment that pays from day 1.
  • By the time you've paid off your loan in 2031, you'll see yearly savings of over $1,200. After 25 years, your total profit will be $29,367!
  • On top of the green that will stay in your pocket, your system will mean green for the environment, too—97 trees-worth, every year!
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in New Jersey. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar loan, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Option 3: Buying the electricity, not the panels with a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

A PPA is a great way to go solar if you haven't got stacks of cash or oodles of equity in your home. It's possible to get solar panels for $0-down and see big savings over 20 years!

As for leases in New Jersey: the electricity costs here are pretty high— 20% higher than the national average. That means a PPA saves you money starting on day 1! For now, the payments on the energy produced by a 5-kW solar system should be around $796 per year, but the energy you're not buying from the utility company would have cost $936—a savings of $140, just for saying yes to solar!

That might not sound like a huge amount of money right now, but as the utility company raises rates, you will start to see greater annual savings. Over 20 years, our estimate shows a total savings of $4,707. And the best part is the panels will be owned and maintained by the installation company, so all you have to do is brag to the Joneses down the street about your green habits!

Here's a little more about how a New Jersey solar PPA works:

Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in New Jersey. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar PPA, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

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Is solar right for your New Jersey home?

A beautiful home with solar panels

If you answer “yes” to each of the following questions, you’re probably a good candidate for solar.

  • Do you own your home?
  • Does your roof get direct sun for most of the day?
  • Does your electricity bill bother you (specifically how much you have to pay)?

The ideal home for solar has a south- or west-facing roof that gets little to no shade throughout the day. The roof can be covered with anything from asphalt shingles to clay or slate tiles, but the easiest roofs to work with are asphalt and standing-seam metal roofs.

Even if your home does not completely meet these conditions, you may still see huge savings from going solar. Your installer will take everything into account when providing you with a savings estimate.

We get more in-depth with roof shape, covering, and orientation in two useful articles:

The step-by-step process for going solar in New Jersey

The most important thing to know about the entire process of going solar is that your solar installer is good at this stuff.

They'll make sure all the T's are crossed and the I's are dotted during the whole process:

Step 1: Getting and Comparing Quotes

There are now many slick solar estimate tools online. Some have you draw lines on your roof from satellite imagery to place your panels and explain your savings. Others pit solar companies against each other in an automated battle for your dollars. Others still track the sun over the course of the year to show you your electric production with the panels you just struggled to draw on your roof.

In our view, they're all a waste of time. If you're serious about installing panels, the best way to get an accurate view of your costs and savings is to get actual quotes instead of messing around with these online tools.

After all, you're not a solar PV designer, it's better to let an expert who knows what they're doing use their own fancy tools for you (believe us—they have fancy tools).

Also, nothing beats a human connection from a trusted source. We've been forging relationships with strong partners and installers since 2007. They know what they're doing, and they're good people.

When you complete our form, we'll connect you with them. You’ll quickly get an accurate reflection of how much electricity your roof can make, how much your system will cost, and how long it will take before you see a profit. In New Jersey, with a loan or PPA, you'll be in the green immediately.

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What you should look for in a solar installer

Solar customers with a contractor looking at contract

If you seek solar quotes directly from providers without our help, be sure to judge them by the following criteria. All partners in our network are:

  • Trained and Skilled - The standard for solar installers is certification by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP for short). That means they’ve undergone training and passed tests that ensure they know what they’re doing.
  • Experienced - How many solar systems has the company installed? A minimum of 10 is a good number to shoot for, unless you know they company well. Of course, choosing Tesla or Sunrun means you’re with a company that has installed thousands of systems, but their process can seem less personal, and their prices are often higher than smaller companies.
  • Well-regarded - Look at reviews of solar providers on Yelp and Google and other review sites. Or simply ask the salesperson to speak with one of the company’s former clients. Solar owners generally love talking about their systems, and you can benefit from their experience.
  • Licensed, bonded, and insured - Make sure the installation crew includes a licensed electrician, because if not, that can be a surprise charge to get the system hooked up.And of course, the company you’re going with has to be bonded and insured in case they do any damage to your home.

The solar quote process

Your first contact with one of our solar providers will be over the phone. They’ll take a look at a satellite photo of your roof and verify some simple details about you and your home. Many will be able to provide you a complete estimate without coming to your house. If you prefer, you can review your estimate in person.

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Information included in solar quotes

A sample solar quote

Your quote will include information about how many panels will be used, how much electricity they can produce, your expected savings over time, and more.

  • System size - System size isn't just about the square footage the panels will occupy on your roof. In the solar industry, size refers to the number of watts your system can produce in full sun. The average solar panel puts out 250 watts at a time, so your installer would call a system of 20 panels a "5-kW system."
  • Energy production - Your solar panels' energy production is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), just like your electricity usage is measured by your utility company. The quote will include an estimate of the average kWh your system will produce per year, and might even show you how the seasons affect expected production by month.
  • Cost and incentives - Solar system prices are quoted as "total cost" and "dollars per watt." For example, a 5-kW system that costs $15,500 has a $3.10 cost per watt. These are the first figures to compare what you’re being offered. The installer should also show you the available incentives that being the net cost of the installation down. Everyone is eligible for the federal solar tax credit of 30% of the system's cost, but there may be local incentives available, as well.

    Note: if you're considering a PPA, you won't be eligible for incentives, and the cost section will include your expected costs per kWh.

  • Equipment - Not all solar panels are created equal, but nearly all the panels used by reputable installers should be able to reliably make electricity for the next 25 years. The options are numerous, and your installer should be able to provide you quotes for a few different kinds. For example, if having panels made in the USA is important to you, your installer should be able to offer you a quote for a system using panels from the USA and panels made elsewhere.
  • Warranties - A solar system has multiple warranties that cover the panels, the inverter, and the installer’s work on your roof. What can change between quotes is the length of the warranties and what they cover. Read our full post on solar warranties and what they cover.

Deciding which solar quote is the best

Now for the easy part: choosing which solar company has the best offer. If one installer offers a lower cost per watt using great equipment, they might be the best choice. Just keep in mind that important considerations other than price set solar companies apart.

Larger installers are all about full service and efficiency, making the process of going solar fast and streamlined. They all offer in-house financing options and multiple ways to pay, and they might also throw in bonuses like free monitoring equipment and long-term warranties.

Smaller installers don’t have the overhead of national solar companies, so they can compete more on price. You might even develop a meaningful relationship with a member of your community who has been doing this for a while, and if something goes wrong with your system, it might feel better to pick up the phone to call them rather than an 800 number tied to a high-volume call center. Just keep an eye on their financing offerings. Third-party lenders for solar financing sometimes include finance charges or higher interest that can mean you save less in the long run.

For more of our guidance on choosing an installer, check out these useful articles:

Step 2: Financing your system

Pile of cash

If you plan to pay up front, this step is easy. Just get your checkbook out and make it happen, high-roller! But if you’re interested in a loan or PPA, it’s time to explore options.

Many installers will offer you financing at this point. Compare their offer to the other options you have. If they offer third-party financing, it might be time to explore a HELOC with your bank before you sign their financing arrangement.

We discussed the options in the section on loans above, but here’s a quick refresher:

  • Home Equity - Probably the best way to pay for solar, because you control it, the rates are lower, and you can repay it in a more flexible way.
  • Solar loans - Most installers will offer some kind of The big guys like Sunrun, Vivint and Tesla/Solarcity have their own loans they can offer you, but most mid-sized installers work with a 3rd-party solar loan provider like Mosaic. These loans are usually structured with the solar tax credit as a balloon payment after 1 year, and the balance of the system cost as a long-term loan at 5%-7% interest.
  • PACE loans - Property-Assessed Clean Energy financing is good for people who don’t have amazing credit or tons of equity, but who plan to live in their home for years to come and don’t mind slightly higher interest rates. The loan is repaid through your property tax bill, the interest is often tax-deductible, and repayment can be spread across as many as 25 years.
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Don't forget about PPAs

If you don’t mind giving up a little control and letting your solar company own the panels, choose a PPA instead. These are only available through an installer, since they’ll be the ones who own the system.

Again, a PPA is best if you don’t have enough income to take advantage of the 30% federal solar tax credit, but it can work for anybody. It’s generally simpler than owning your own system. You just sign on the dotted line and start getting lower cost electricity from your solar company.

Step 3: Signing a contract, and what happens after

hands signing a contract

So, you’ve settled on a solar installer, and lined up the funding to pay for your shiny new panels! After you sign on the dotted line, it’s time for the pros to begin their work!

Site Inspections

First up, you’ll be seeing a few folks out for site inspections. There will be a master electrician out to look at your main circuit panel and wiring, a solar contractor to do a detailed analysis of your roof and determine the best placement for the panels, and a roofing contractor to examine the structural integrity of your roof.

Design and permitting

Following the inspections, the system designer will get to work on a digital design for your system. Your solar company will finalize the design and components, and give you a final price for approval. Once you’ve authorized the final design, your solar installer will finalize the documents and submit them to your locality for permitting.

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Step 4: Installation, Inspection & Interconnection

Two workers install solar panels on a roof

New Jersey is a mature solar market and most installers have their procedures down pat. Installation, which used to take several days, now usually takes between 4 and 8 hours. Unless your roof is complicated or your electrical systems need updating, your crew should arrive, perform their duties, and be done within one day.

Installation day

Your installer will have already completed their site surveys and the workers on the truck will know exactly what they're installing and where. The crew will arrive at your home, set up their gear and get to work on your roof.

The first thing they'll do is mark off all the places the solar panel mounts will be placed, then attach those mounts to your roof. If you'd like to know more about the big metal bolts that will be screwed into your rafters, check out an article on how solar panels are attached to your roof.

The crew will then install the racks and panels, making connections that either wire the panels together in strings, or bring the wires from the micro-inverters together. If the crew includes a master electrician, that person will make the final connections between the panel, inverter, and your main AC panel (you may have to wait a day or two for the master electrician to finish the wiring).

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What the heck are micro-inverters?

Traditionally, solar panels are wired in a series and connected to a single inverter box, which converts the electricity from DC to AC so it can be used in your home. Those large inverters work great for most people, but tend to make the system overall a tiny bit less efficient. Also, if a shadow or cloud passes over and blocks sunlight to some of your panels, the whole system suffers.

Micro-inverters, on the other hand, are attached to the back of every panel, which ensures that the maximum energy output of each panel reaches your home wiring. They cost a little more, but for a house with a partially-shaded roof, they can pay for themselves quickly.

Here's an infographic showing how the two types of inverters differ:

A string of solar panels with one shaded produces only half its rated power With micro-inverters, one shaded panel doesn't affect the whole bunch, allowing more electricity to get to the meter

Inspection and Interconnection

After your system is installed, it needs to be connected to the grid, and for that, you’ll need to have it inspected. Your installer will line all this up for you, too, and it may take between a couple days and a couple weeks to get the final inspections scheduled and completed.

An inspector examines and electrical box

Your city may require an inspection from the fire department, but the most important inspection will come from the utility company, who will send out someone to examine your system’s components and wiring and install the new electric meter that will record your solar kWhs.

At this point, you might even get a chance to turn the system on yourself!

Step 5: Operation, Maintenance, and claiming your tax credit

A squeegee cleaning solar panels

So you’ve got a shiny new solar system installed and it’s working. Now what? To be honest, not much. Solar panels are the platonic ideal of a Ron Popeil creation: set it and forget it. Still, you might find yourself compulsively checking your monitoring software to ensure those panels are working as promised.

After the deep breath of fresh air that comes with seeing your new electric bills, you'll relax into a state of solar bliss. During other moments, you'll smile as you think of all the acreage of forest you basically just planted using only the few hundred square feet of your roof.

There are a few important things to know after your panels are installed:

How to maintain your solar panels

Maintaining solar panels is a breeze. Solar panels are designed to handle rain, wind, snow, hail, and whatever nature throws at them for 25 years or more. All the maintenance a solar panel system needs is a yearly rinse and squeegee to take off extra dust and grime; maybe 2 or three times yearly if you live in a very dusty place. You can get by with a hose, if you need to.

If you own the system, either with a loan or having paid cash, you can expect to do (or contract out) the work yourself. If you have a solar PPA contract, this annual or semi-annual cleaning may be included as part of your agreement, or you may have the responsibility to do any cleaning yourself. Be sure to look for this information as part of a PPA offer.

How to tell if your solar components are working

Other than cleaning, you may someday experience the failure of one or more components. Right off the bat, you should be able to see whether your panels are delivering energy on the panel of your inverter or net meter.

Read the user manual of your inverter to find out how to access the proper information, but most inverters will have a real-time production number on an LCD readout right on the front.

If you have a system with a central inverter, you will likely need to replace it after 10-15 years. If, instead, you have micro-inverters attached to each panel, they should last for the life of your system, and if not, they’re usually covered by 25-year warranties.

A micro-inverter attached to the underside of a solar module

Micro-inverters, like the one shown above, coupled with monitoring software can make it easier to tell when a panel isn't producing enough energy

Your installer may also have included monitoring software as part of your installation, either on a screen attached to your system or on the web. The monitoring software will tell you if the system is functioning properly, and, if you have micro-inverters on each of your panels, can even tell you if any panels are not working as they should.

If you discover that one or more of your panels isn’t working, it’ll be time to file a warranty claim.

What to do if your panels stop working

If you’ve done a good job by choosing one of our installer partners, you’ve got warranties that cover the installation (e.g., watertightness of roof penetrations and structural integrity of your roof), the panels (manufacturing defects) and the energy (production guarantee).

Your first step is to figure out who to contact. If you have a PPA contract, that step is simple: call your installer or contact them via their customer portal. That might also be the case if you sign up for a solar loan from a big installer. Oftentimes, the loan comes with a similar kind of protection.

a cracked solar panel

This isn't supposed to happen, so if it does, know who to call.

If, however, you went with a different installer, perhaps sourced through a different website, you’re probably stuck looking through the paperwork you got with the system to find the manufacturers of your panels, inverter, or other components.

How to claim the federal tax credit for solar

Claiming the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC, for short) is easy, just have your personal assistant fax all the necessary paperwork to your accountant in the Caymans, and wait for your huge refund.

A fanned-out stack of a few 1040 tax forms

Oh wait, you don't have millions in an offshore account? Then we've got the necessary info for you. The ITC is claimed by filling out a special schedule, Form 5695, and entering the credit amount from that into your 1040 form.

For your edification and convenience, we've prepared a step-by-step guide to claiming the solar tax credit.

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New Jersey Solar Policy Information

Ever wonder why solar seems to be everywhere in some states, but not in others? We did too.

State legislatures and public utilities commissions can enact rules to make solar power accessible for everyone. Favorable rules explain why some of the cloudiest states—New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, are doing so well with solar, and yet some of those with the most natural solar resources—like Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia—are doing so poorly.

Below is important information about the public policy, rules, and economic reasons that affect your ability to go solar here in New Jersey:


50% by 2030

Grade: A

New Jersey's Renewable Portfolio Standard grade

A Renewables Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) requires utilities in the state to eventually source at least a certain percentage of their electricity from clean, renewable sources like solar panels.

New Jersey used to have one of the strongest RPS goals in the nation, mandating that 22.5% of all energy must come from renewable sources by 2021. That number is looking very attainable, and, truth be told, it’s in the middle of the pack now compared to the best solar states. The one thing the RPS has going for it is a huge solar-specific target of 4.1% of all electricity, meaning that solar is vital to the state meeting its goals (more about the carve-out just below).

New Jersey’s RPS is critical to strong renewable energy policy. Utility companies aren't really all that gung-ho about you producing your own power. After all, it costs them money when you use less of their electricity. They also don’t naturally want to give you big payments for energy you're feeding back into the grid. The main reason the utilities are aiding your transition to lower electric bills and offering you incentives to put solar on your roof is because the state forces them to. If the utilities don't hit their RPS numbers, they have to pay large fees back to the state.

What's an RPS? Your state legislature paves the way for strong solar energy incentives to flourish by setting standards for renewable energy generation within their territories. Those standards are called the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). If utility companies do not meet these standards, they must pay alternative compliance fees directly to the state. Many utilities then determine the best ways to source their energy from renewable sources that are less expensive than this fee.

An RPS is a mandate that says "Hey utilities! Y'all now have to make a certain percentage of your electricity from renewable sources. If not, you'll have to pay us huge fines." The consequences are good, because utilities usually try to meet these RPS standards by creating solar power incentives for you, the homeowner. Read more about Renewable Portfolio Standards.

RPS solar carve out

5.1% by 2021

Grade: A

New Jersey's Solar Carve-out grade

The New Jersey RPS now includes a solar specific carve-out of 5.1% by 2021. That means for every 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity generated in the state, just over 5 have to come from the sun by 2021. That may not sound like much, but trust us, that's huge!

New Jersey mandates solar production by the utility companies, and if they don't either produce or procure that much electricity from solar, they have pay fines called "Alternative Compliance Payments" (ACPs). But planning, siting, and building huge solar facilities is hard to do, so instead of doing it themselves, the utility companies pay money to people who can prove they've generated solar electricity in their area.

This is where you come in, New Jersey homeowner. The proof of that generation is called a Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC), and you get one for every megawatt-hour (MWh) your system generates. As of right now, the average New Jersey homeowner will earn more than 8 of these SRECs, which they can sell at the market price.

Read more about SREC sales in our section on New Jersey SRECs, below.

What's a solar set aside? A solar set aside guarantees a specific portion of the overall renewable energy mix generated comes from the sun. For those states with progressive standards, high alternative compliance payments, and clear solar carve outs, the faster those areas become ripe for solar.

Some states have higher alternative compliance fees than others, and some states have more progressive alternative energy standards and deadlines than others do.

For instance, New Jersey has an overall RPS of 22.5% by the year 2021. That requires local utilities to source 22.5% of their energy mix from renewable sources by the year 2021. Pretty good. However, New Jersey also has a specific solar set aside of 4.1% by 2028. That’s the type of firm commitment which really gets the industry rolling forward. No wonder why New Jersey is one of the hottest solar markets right now!

New Jersey Electricity Prices


Grade: A

New Jersey's Electricity cost grade

As homeowners in New Jersey, we pay about 16 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity we use. That's solidly above the national average of 13.6 cents/kWh. Paying upwards of 20% more for electricity than many other people in the country is painful.

But while you see larger bills now, you could be seeing bigger savings in the future with solar power! Higher electricity prices means greater opportunity to save money by producing your own clean, earth-friendly power with solar panels. And electricity prices will likely continue to rise in the future with new regulations on carbon pollution and decreased supplies of fossil fuels. People who switch to solar now will be patting themselves on the back in short order.

Why are electricity prices so important? Because that is what solar power is directly competing against. The cost to produce power with solar is relatively constant (of course how much sun hits your area has an effect), so if you are paying $0.40 per watt for power, then you make FOUR TIMES AS MUCH as the guy or girl paying $0.10 per watt electricity.

The caveat here is that if the $0.10 per watt person has a HUGE rebate, they may be better off than the $0.40 per watt person. Because of that, states without any renewable standards tend to be heavily reliant on cheap coal for electricity, and also have very low electricity prices. When electricity prices are artificially low, that hinders the ability of solar energy to achieve meaningful payback in the state.

New Jersey Net Metering


Grade: A

New Jersey's Net Metering grade

Net Metering requires your utility to monitor how much energy your solar power system produces and how much energy you actually consume, and make sure you get credit for the surplus.

New Jersey’s net metering rules ensure the utility company tracks your excess power generation and credit it to your next bill at the full retail rate. If you run a surplus for an entire year, the utility will cut you a check for the surplus at the company's avoided-cost (wholesale) rate. All investor owned utilities and certain competitive municipal utilities and electric cooperatives are required to provide net metering.

What is net metering? Net metering is the billing arrangement where you can sell excess electricity back to your utility for equal the amount you are charged to consume it. The more customer friendly net metering policies, the higher the grade.

The grade here specifically reflects individual solar system capacity, caps on program capacity limits, restrictions on “rollover” of kWh from one month to the next (yep just like cell phone minutes), metering issues (like charges for new meters), Renewable Energy Credit (REC) ownership, eligible customers and technology (the more renewables the better), being able to aggregate meters across the property for net metering, and safe harbor provisions to protect customers from solar tariff changes.

New Jersey Interconnection Rules


Grade: B

New Jersey's Interconnection Standards grade

Interconnection standards are strong here as well. Regulations have created a three-tiered system for interconnection procedures, depending on the size of the energy system. Your residential system of less than 10 kW qualifies for simplified procedures with no application fees. The law actually prevents the utilities from charging small systems like yours any additional fees whatsoever to get hooked up to the grid. Nor may the utility require you to install a redundant external disconnect switch, or to purchase any additional liability insurance. There is a bit of room for improvement on standard procedures for larger generators (hence the "B" grade), but everything should be smooth sailing for your residential solar power systems.

Interconnection rules are a little technical, but they basically allow you to “plug in” to the electric grid with solar panels on your roof. The more complex, out of date, or nonsensical the state rules are for plugging into the grid, the lower the grade.

Specifically, the grade reflects what technologies are eligible, individual system capacity, removing interconnection process complexity for smaller systems, interconnection timelines and charges, engineering charges, prohibiting the requirement of unnecessary external disconnects, certification, spot interconnection vs. wide area interconnection, technical screens, friendliness of legalese, insurance requirements, dispute resolution, and rule coverage.

Solar Incentives in New Jersey

Next to high electricity prices and net metering, solar incentives have traditionally been the most important factor for whether home solar power makes financial sense in a state. In the past, some states with otherwise lousy policy had tremendous incentives that drove down the up-front cost of going solar so much that homeowners could save oodles of money even without net metering or a good RPS.

These days, the big incentive most people can get is the Federal Solar Tax Credit that earns you 30% of your costs back after just 1 year. State incentives play less of a role than in the past, but some really good ones are still out there, ready to help homeowners go solar and save money before you know it.

Let's see how New Jersey measures up:

New Jersey Solar Power Rebates

Varies, New Construction Only

Grade: C

New Jersey's Solar Rebates grade

New Jersey's renewable energy program does offer rebates for some clean energy types. Unfortunately legislators made the decision to back solar power exclusively with the SREC market. That means the cost of solar panels in NJ may be a bit higher at the outset, but those tremendous long-term payments still more than make up for it.

BUT... there is a way to get some rebates if you're building a new home and using renewable energy to power it. New Jersey has a program called "The NJ Clean Energy Residential New Construction Program," which offers rebates to incentivize the construction of new homes that meet the New Jersey ENERGY STAR standards.

Do some reading at the link above, and you'll see that it's possible to get thousands back if you build a home that meets or exceeds those standards. Connect with our solar experts in New Jersey to find out more about this exciting program!

How do solar rebates work? Similar to getting a rebate card from your local big box store for a dishwasher purchase, state legislatures also provide rebates for solar panel purchases to spur on investment and create new jobs. If you purchase the solar panel system yourself, you qualify for this free cash, which many times is a lump payment back to you. Some solar installers like to take this amount directly off the total installed price, and they'll handle the paperwork for you to make things a lot less complex.

The availability of state and utility rebates were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The better the rebates, the higher the grade.

New Jersey Solar Power Tax Credits


Grade: F

New Jersey's Solar Tax Credits grade

New Jersey also lacks any personal tax credits for solar panels. NJ's pending reduction in SREC prices means a statewide solar power rebate or tax credit (with rollover, if necessary) would be an excellent way to keep solar growth humming here. With SREC prices still providing substantial payments, even a small rebate or tax credit would be a significant boon to homeowners like you, without costing the state all that much.

About state solar tax credits: State tax credits are not technically free money. However, they are 'credits' and not 'deductions' which means that if you have the tax appetite to take advantage of them, then they can be a 1-to-1 dollar amount off your taxes instead of a fraction of the cost of the system. So that means they can be an important factor to consider. In certain circumstances, state tax credits can provide a very powerful incentive for people to go solar.

(Keep in mind, we are not tax professionals and give no tax advice so please consult a professional before acting on anything we say related to taxes)

The availability of personal tax credits for solar energy were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The higher the tax credit amount, the higher the grade.

Solar Power Performance Payments

SREC Market- Varies

Grade: A

New Jersey's Solar Performance Payments grade

The heart of New Jersey's solar panel push can be summed up in four words: “Solar Renewable Energy Certificates” (SRECs). Let's talk a little more about SRECs, from the top.

Think of SRECs as proof for the New Jersey’s utilities that they are complying with the law to produce their share of power from solar. If they’re not producing that power through their own solar farms or wind farms, then they have to “buy” that power from someone else. Someone like you, Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner. That means extra moolah for you!

At this point, we should tell you, the New Jersey SREC program will end soon, once the state's electric utilities reach their goal of 5.1% of electricity coming from solar. Read more about the New Jersey SREC program expiration date.

How do you get New Jersey SRECs?

Each time your panels generate 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, you get an SREC which you can sell for cash! For NJ solar panels, the ratio of SRECs produced per year to system size in kilowatts is about 1.15 to 1. So if you've got a 7-kW solar system (a solid average for a single-family home), you will generate a bit more than 8 SRECs a year.

How much are New Jersey SRECs worth, and how do you get money for them?

SRECs are traded on an open exchange, so their value will vary from year to year. However, in New Jersey, their value is strongly correlated to the Solar Alternative Compliance Payment (SACP) the utility would incur for not meeting their requirement to source some of their electricity from the sun.

Remember those fees called ACPs from above? For 2019, they're about $270 per MWh, which keeps SREC prices around $225. The ACP will be slowly decreasing to $128 by 2033. Recent SREC market prices can be found at the New Jersey Clean Energy website.

New Jersey SREC prices

Recent New Jersey SREC Prices

To get money for your SRECs, you can sign up with an SREC broker, such as SRECtrade. These guys handle the paperwork, aggregate a lot of homeowner SRECs together, handle the trading with the utility companies and take a commission for their trouble. Their efforts are worth the hassle, since it isn't cost effective for the utilities to connect with thousands of homeowners to negotiate a small number of SREC purchases each month from each homeowner.

This is a whole lot of money, paid straight to you every year! SREC prices should continue to track the ACP, meaning you figure to bank nearly $1,600 a year, as long as you sign up soon. As the ACPs go down, so do SREC prices, and by extension, you potential profits. Don't sleep on this! Get solar savings estimates from local experts today.

Explanation of performance payments: Performance payments represent a big chunk of the financial rationale for going solar, and in many instances they make your decision a wise one. For certain states, if you’ve got solar panels on your roof, not only will you be cutting your electric bill down to size, but you'll be getting paid additional cash from your utility company. Pretty awesome, huh? Not only are you generating electricity for yourself, freezing your own popsicles with sun, and feeling like you’re doing something smart for your children or any of the other 4 reasons people go solar, but you are getting PAID!

Utility companies are paying people with solar panels on their roofs because their states say they have to, otherwise they will pay a fee. Therefore, the payment amount to homeowners is typically a little bit less than the amount they would be billed for by the state. For states with these alternative compliance fees, Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) exchanges have popped up. In the above chart, we outlined an estimate of yearly payments a homeowner might expect from the utility company for the SREC credits from their solar energy system.

Expected SREC payments were calculated by using the latest trade values in the SRECtrade database. The availability of feed-in tariffs were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The higher the expected monthly payments, the higher the grade.

We've got a great article if you like to read more about what SRECs are and how to earn them.

Property Tax Exemption


Grade: A

New Jersey's Solar Property Tax Exemptions grade

When the property tax assessor comes a knockin’ at your front door, by law, they are not allowed to charge you any more property taxes because you’ve got a new valuable solar system on your roof. At the same time, your home WILL be worth significantly more when you sell, because, hey, what home buyer doesn't like free electricity?

About solar property tax exemptions: Property tax exemption status is a pretty big factor when putting together your investment considerations. Some argue that solar power adds approximately 20 times your annual electricity bill savings (if you are owning the system and not leasing). Other studies seem to indicate a home price premium about equal to the cost of installing the system, minus any incentives like the federal solar tax credit.

For many average-sized solar power systems on a house, that can mean adding $20,000 to your home value. And if you don't believe us, believe the bean counters: Many banks and solar financing companies now offer traditional style equity-based home loans for installing solar. An additional $20,000 in property tax basis in many states amounts to a big chunk of change owed back to the state. However, many states have complete exemptions from added taxes when you install solar on your home!

The availability of a property tax exemption for solar energy was sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. Grades in this category are basically all-or-nothing. Either you got it or you don't. Thankfully, many states have "got it.".

Sales Tax Exemption


Grade: A

New Jersey's Solar Sales Tax Exemption grade

Contrary to other home improvements like a new kitchen or bathroom, with solar panels in NJ, you will not have to pay any sales taxes on your system. That's 7% you're saving right upfront, even without any statewide solar power rebates.

What's the deal with solar power sales tax exemptions? When states give you a sales tax break on solar, we notice. You should too. State sales tax exemption status for the purchase of solar energy systems were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. Sales tax exemptions, if present, were all 100%. A handful of states are completely exempt from sales tax regardless, and therefore received ‘A’ grades by default (OR, DE, MT, AK, and NH).

The final word on New Jersey home solar rebates and incentives:

New Jersey has done just about everything right when it comes to helping homeowners go solar. The payback time here is a phenomenal 6 years, meaning you’ll have nearly 2 decades of free power under the original 25-year solar panel warranty.

If you can get solar for your New Jersey home in 2019, you should! The end of the SREC program very near and the decrease in the amount of the federal solar tax credit will have a negative effect on solar payback time after 2019.

108 thoughts on “2019 New Jersey Home Solar Incentives, Rebates, and Tax Credits

  1. Donald Pavon says:

    I have been checking out a few of your stories and i can state clever stuff. I will definitely bookmark your website.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone tell me if there is a NJ code requirement to have a DOUBLE POLE circuit with a solar panel installation (residential) versus SINGLE POLE circuit?

  3. Cynthia says:

    I live in NJ and I have been able to save money on solar between the savings on my electric bill and the SREC’s (

  4. Mark says:

    My third party supplier has charged me every month for electric where the utility hasn’t charged me except $2.43 for rental of I guess poles.The charges ranged from 25.00 to 150.00 a month.

  5. Mark says:

    I Have PSE&G and a third party supplier .My panels this year gave me a surplus of electric. Who buys back my extra electric that I produced if I am in the positive. Is it PSE&G who a third party supplier?

  6. Danny says:

    The pop up on your mobile site makes it impossible to use FYI

  7. Robert Spiegel says:

    I am looking for an off the grid system and have a farm with plenty of roof space in NJ. Can you help me?

  8. Anonymous says:

    after getting a solar systm 11.13 kwh. i’m doing the geothermal which is up to a 75% savings more on my bill and much more money coming in.not everyone can do this but my daughter will be happy knowing she has n’t any bills to worry about in the future

  9. Anonymous says:

    Does NJ allow me to install my own Solar System. I’m looking at a PlugNPlay system or Kit from a number of venders.

  10. Anonymous says:

    What is the maximum amount of average usage that a residence can obtain from solar expressed as a % of normal electricity usage?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Tax Assessment fee coupon Home prices are falling everywhere, but homeowners hoping for lower property taxes may find themselves disappointed when the bill arrives. If you think your home’s assessed value is too high, you can appeal the tax assessor’s verdict — We will handle the grievance process for you. Most homeowners simply don’t have the time to appeal, or they become intimidated by all the paperwork involved. We will help in the appeal process typically charge a small fixed amount. If the appeal is successful, the homeowner can save hundreds of dollars in taxes. To get discount on appeal process fee, checkout here:

  12. Solar Panels Video says:

    New Jersey offers some good incentives it seems, we have similar sort of deals in the UK for solar panels and green energy.

  13. Allen G says:

    @ Best way to handle that is climbing up on your roof once a year with a leaf blower and blowing around and under the panels.

  14. dmbstitch says:

    I noticed a buildup of leaves and other debris under the solar panels on my roof. Any suggestions on how to clean it out so as not to have mold buildup on the roof?

  15. Modi says:

    Does solar panel installation require roof re-done if roof is two layered, 45 years old and second layer done 20 years back? If so is there any rebate on roof as it is pre-requisite for solar panel installation?

    1. Dave Llorens says:

      Probably, no reroofing is not going to be helped by any solar rebates, but you’re going to reroof when you need to re-roof regardless. Solar is somewhat independent. You’d like to time it, but if not, it’s not much more than a grand to pop off, reroof, and put back on. So, get a quote today :-)

  16. James says:

    if you install solar panel in my roof next month can i still get solar power rebate , tax credits, & insentives ?

    1. Dave Llorens says:

      Hey James, in NJ? Yes. Please fill this out and someone will help you.

  17. Dan Tonkery says:

    I am researching solar power and my house has a full house generator. Can the two systems work together?

  18. Brian says:

    I am in the middle of researching solar power in NJ. One question: I was told by someone that if there is a blackout, that even homes with solar will not have power. That somehow, because the power company doesn’t want the lines to be backfed by the electricity that I am generating that my house will still be without power even if I have solar. Is that true? Is there a way to set it up, via battery for instance, that my house continues with power in case of a blackout?

  19. Solar says:

    Hey Carol! You can check out for some info on what you’re looking for. we should definitely have it.

    -Sharone Tal

  20. Carol says:

    Hello, I am doing a report on an analysis of the waste that is generated through used-up solar panels, and storage batteries that have reached their life-time capacity. However, I am really having a hard time finding this information. Can anyone suggest an article, website, or can explain? Thank You, Carol

  21. Paul Vegvari says:

    Hello,when will you update this site things have changed a lot since 2010 and are you aware SRECs are trading for under 200 bucks per right now. There is no longer any state rebate for solar either. When will Christie sign the bill into law that will move us into the energy year 2014 so solar can move forward in this state. We are flatlining right now and solar will not rock until the SREC market can get readjusted. Update your site and get out of your cave so you can properly inform people.

  22. Mike says:

    CAn you tell me if the tax credits are refundable tax credits.

  23. Tj says:

    How many panels does it require to handle a house that has 200amp service?
    Space would be the issue.
    Definitely interested, just need to understand more.

    1. Dave Llorens says:

      As always, depends depends depends depends (wish that was not the case). Good news is that with a 200A service unless you are using CRAZy juice, you likely will not need an (expensive) electrical service upgrade. Sign up here for a quote

  24. B says:

    I have a question about the credit pse&g is giving me for my monthly solar generation. If I generate 400 kwh of energy, and use 800 kwh, shouldn’t I only be paying for 400 kwh? My bill just came in and I generated 452 kwh based on my solar meter. According to pse&g, I used about 800, and they reduced that by 200 kwh, not 452. Anyone know why that would be? It seems consistent every month, in that I generate much more than they reduce my usage by. .??? Help!

    1. Dave Llorens says:

      The first sentence is correct in theory, sounds like you need to talk to the people who installed your system.

  25. Al Krisgonski says:

    I recently got 10KWH system installed on my Shed roof as did not want any thing on my house. It is about 100 ft away from my house and in open with south side facing slanted roof about 10 ft high from the ground. Its cost was little high. My installers and company I bought the system bundled all the cost into one. All I did was refinanced my house @no cost financing with my lender [email protected]. Great thing is along with all the credits and SREC’s the interest on the investment is also now tax deductible. Since, it is an equipment I can claim the depreciation too. If my calculations are right I will be even in 3 years with all the savings, credit, interests and cost of electricity. With changes in technology there is a big improvement in system every 5-6 years and lower cost. I would be very comfortable in upgrading my system in 5-6 years and selling current panels back into the market for 20C on a dollar. Extra cash. My new system would be almost free and more efficient.

  26. patricia says:

    mobile home? Is it possible for me to have it. Does it make sense?

    1. Dave Llorens says:

      Mobile homes are …. tough to do. They really need to be owned, and on an owned plot and immobile, which, well, means they’re not mobile homes. Sorry wish I could be more help. You can still sign up and take a shot:


  27. John says:

    can this be done on a commercial site? I have an old garage–flat roof with no trees-near an open field–a small strip mall next store want to install on garage and sell to them–is this possible??

  28. gloria says:

    I live in Jersey City. I have a flat roof and no trees around my house that are tall enough to block the use of solar. I am sick of oil cost. Can someone let me know the cost of instillation and how you go about getting it.

    1. Dan Hahn says:

      Hi Gloria,

      Fill out the form here, and that will get the ball rolling. The installation cost depends on your electricity usage and/or budget. At the least, you’ll get a free quote:

  29. Sally says:

    About how much house value is increased with solar panels?

    1. Dan Hahn says:

      Hi Sally, home value is increased 20x your annual electricity savings with solar panels!

  30. Susan says:

    I have a slate roof can solar panels be put on a slate roof?

    1. Dan Hahn says:

      Susan, Indeed solar can be installed on a slate roof!

    2. Dave Llorens says:

      Yes, but it’s hard. It can be broken and will cost extra, and you will need to find an installer who will do it, but that is more than half of them.

      Signup here and hopefully you can get sorted out:

  31. Doug G. says:

    Are there seminars available to show private owners how to sell SRECs themselves? As I understand it we can I would like to learn more.

  32. Jude says:

    Does anyone know if Solatube (solar skylights) are eligible for a rebate or credit from NJ?

  33. Mel C. says:

    Curious about buying a house in NJ with solar system (5 yrs old) on roof, seller wants to take SRECs with him/her, but they are moving out of state. Can they retain SRECs when no longer NJ state residents? Also, what are the risks to a buyer of house with solar if seller retains SRECS. Any assistance is appreciated.

  34. Doug G says:

    Dan I haven’t looked at my bill. Do you know if PSE&G has such an accounting with thier bills? I did call them directly and it was installed about about 3 days however I did not get any info on how to read the meter? They are supposed to send out some sort of paperwork….

  35. Doug says:

    Thanks Dan H for your help however if I already submitted paperwork with PSE&G do you know if I can cancel it at anytime? My installer is setting this all up and am wondering… also PES&G is to install a digital meter which shows the amout of energy they are getting and once an SRECs it obtained I guess they send me a check. It’s been about a month now and they haven’t installed the meter. We already lost a 1/2 an SREC… does anyone know how long it takes for them to come out? Asking my installer and not sure if I’m getting a real answer.


    1. Dan Hahn says:

      Hi Doug,

      While the special meter will be nice, you don’t need it to claim your SREC and you haven’t lost anything. What’s important to keep is your electric bill, where hopefully there is an accounting of how much power you are sending back to the grid from your panels and how much you are consuming. If there is not, you definitely need to hound them to get the meter in because there’s no accounting of how much power you’ve created. With any sort of accounting on your bill, you will be able to prove you are generating your SRECs and can sell them. I’m surprised PSE&G has taken this long to get back to you. I’d recommend contacting them directly for the status of their meter installation.

  36. Joe says:

    Hi everyone.. I’ve been reading about solar energy in NJ and would like to have one installed on my home. Can someone help me with some questions that I have about the system cost and how to pay for the system.

    Thank you

    Joe in Mechantville

    1. Dan Hahn says:

      Hi Joe (and anyone else curious in New Jersey),

      I am available any time for a phone consultation and can help you answer any questions you might have about financing, incentives, and NJ rebates. I can also get you a quote. Send me your phone number at [email protected], the best time to reach you and I’ll give you a buzz!

      – Dan

  37. Aileen says:

    I’d like to know the rebate policy for NJ in 2011,Thanks ,If you can ,please give s sample case of PV to let me know the finance issues of the PV project.
    Thanks a lot.

  38. Doug says:

    We just had a 3.8 KW system installed on our roof in Collingswood, NJ. We are waiting for PSE&G to switch out our meter so we can start accumulating SERCs. We were told we would get 6-7 SERCs per year with this system but finding this website it looks like we will only get 3-4 based on the system we have? Am I reading this correctly?

    My wife was speaking to the building inspector who also has solar, he said he brokerages his SERCs himself and does not go through PES&G thus selling to the highest bidder. How do I go about doing this and if I set up to start with PSE&G can I change and do this myself? Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Dan Hahn says:

      Hi Doug,

      First off, congratulations on installing your new solar power system. Indeed, we estimate from our experience you will probably be generating between 3 and 4 SRECs per year in New Jersey. If you are actually getting more than that, please let us know.

      In terms of selling your SRECs, it is difficult to sell small quantities directly to PSE&G because you are relatively small potatoes – even though they are interested to get their hands on all the SRECs they can.

      Therefore, we recommend using SRECtrade. They aggregate all the small potatoes together to comprise bigger SREC lots, which then get more easily gobbled up by the utilities. There are forms on the site to register, and you can always contact them for personalized help.

      Warm regards,

      – Dan @ Solar Power Rocks!

  39. Jack Jennings says:

    In 2009 I constructed a new hay barn on my farm in Sicklerville New Jersey and decided to install a 10kW photoelectric system on the roof. I used panels that are self adhering to the standing seam metal roofing installed on the South facing side of the roof. Since the solar panels were installed on the roofing before it was put in place, the roof became part of the solar system and I claimed a federal tax credit on the difference in cost between the regular barn roofing and the Standing seam. The total cost amounted to $75,377.26, which was higher than expected because all the wiring had to be explosion proof. (Example, a 200 amp electrical panel that could be picked up for $175 normally cost $850 in a dust tight version). For the first time in my life my timing was right on. The 30% Federal tax credit of $22,613 reduced the cost to $52,764.24 and the $1.75 per watt NJ rebate of $17,500 knocked it down to $35,264.26. Starting in July of 2010 I have sold 19 SRECs which has reduced the cost to $23,025 and will be selling an additional one this month for another $651. The system has reduced my power consumption by 22,291 kWh as of today which has saved me an additional $3500. I haven’t projected the pay-off date yet, but as you can see, it’s going in the right direction. I’m happy with the system. The panels produce considerable power even at lower light intensities. It was cloudy today but the were still kicking out 4000 watts when I read the production stats off the inverters at 4 PM this afternoon.

  40. Ben says:

    Jim NJ, can you post the name of your installer for me? I am in Little Silver in Monmouth County NJ. Thanks, Ben.

  41. Sylvia says:

    Has anyone installed solar panels on their townhome roof in NJ?

  42. Chris Gernat says:

    I have a similiar situation as the above person commented. I just submitted for a C variance that I will need to construct ground mounted solar panels. I believe my neighbors are planning to plant trees along the southerly property line to intentionally shade the proposed panels. There are 13 circles along the property line, on their property opposite to where the panels are proposed. They know where the panels are going because I notified them as part of the variance requirement and they saw the plan.

    Are there any laws in New Jersey to prevent shading of the panels. I know California has a law about this, or can anyone offer any suggestions.

  43. Philip says:

    How does one handle the problem of a tree blocking sunlight from hitting a solar panel that one wants to install on a roof in NJ? Does NJ have a law similar to California’s 1978 “Solar Shade Control Act”? That is, can a tree be legally cut down in NJ to facilitate solar energy production? If so, let me know at [email protected]

  44. Paul P maxcy says:

    I think the solar systems are are about the greatest thing i’ve seen in my life time so far. I am a 20 year liscensed (self employed Electrician ) looking to do solar exclusively. My problem is I need a partner to wear “the tie” and do the enormus amounts of paper work as well as some design. Solar rocks and i will keep trying….Thank you

  45. HykyrJoe says:

    Hey Beth,

    I wholeheartedly agree with the insane idea of solar on the side of the home. Who will see it? Will it be visible from inside the home? If no other roof location is suitable, then I would look at a ground installation given the right sun exposure, and barring that, solar Pv panels can be engineered to mount virtually anywhere the sun shines.. and once that meter starts turning in your favor, the monthly bill will look better than the side of the house until you realize WHY that bill looks better each month. Then , perhaps that side mount solar PV array won’t look so bad in the final review. Go for it!

  46. Beth says:

    My husband is in the process of getting a solar system for a home unfortunately our house is not is the right location and the panels will need to be installed on the side of our house. I think this will look terrible. He wants to do this and is going forward witht project. Home depot has a company that does installs with a company they use panels from BP. Has anyone had any contact or used this system. Please let me know your thoughts.

  47. HykyrJoe says:

    The reason I believe SREC’s are not taxable is because they are not income but return on capital investment(ROI). The solar industry is a non taxable industry at the current time. There will be no 1099 forms coming from your aggregator for now. We went with a 5.29kWh Trina/PvPowered system to offset 6500kWh or our 12000 kWh yearly use. So far we’ve done good thru the winter averaging 16 kWh even through a gloomy December where some days we couldn’t get 2! Really wish we had more roof space!Will look at a ground system to possible get some more going.

  48. lkesten says:

    To Jim of NJ, who was your installer? I spoke to two and they did vary in product, type of installation and cost.

  49. NS says:

    Is there a disadvantage to have ground mount system vs. roof mount? I have large backyard and plan to install 11KWH system.

    1. Dan Hahn says:

      Hi NS,

      Ground mounted systems typically will cost you a little more since they require a racking system underneath the panels. Also, depending on how far away you place them from your home will determine more cost, especially if additional trenching is required. You’ll probably be interested to check out these other adders to system cost. And, as always since you’re in New Jersey you should definitely check out the group pricing discounts available to you.

  50. Stan says:

    Who was your installer?

  51. Tom says:

    I think this just a temporary situation with the credits we have run into this same problem in Arizona.

  52. Jim.NJ says:

    I finished my 10K system in June and … did my research. I went with the highest efficency panels (Sunpower). The panel over produce there 10K rating. I also took advantage of the state rebate which for my system was $13,500. (that rebate has since been reduced) I expect to pay little or nothing for electric ever again. From $260 a month to zero. I did professional air sealing and had an expert evaluate my energy usage. The items which were not efficient Fridg/Old central air unit etc. were replaced. So I generated a lot of my electricty and now use less. I will get back about $20,000. on my fed. Tax. I borrowed this amount at zero interest thru my installer. I produced 4K in power in my first 3 months. Yes thats 4 X 650.00 so far. My electric bill this summer was all zeros. My system will pay for its self in approximately 3 years. Leaving me 12 more years to collect SRECs (15 year program) and pay nothing for electric. I highly recommend my solar installer and more importantly starting the process by interviewing 4 or 5 installers in your home. Its a 6 month to a 1 year process, but if your willing to put in the time its well worth it.

  53. James says:

    From my calculations and my bill I need 1530KWH as monthly average. I would like to go at 125% to take advantage of reverse metering and have room for heated pool and others later……
    I have a cleared 1 acre lot beside the house so instead of roof mounts as it is a Tudor home with cedar shingles I was thinking of stand mounts on the extra acre – Any thought and pricing adjustments I would need to makes

  54. Jim says:

    Hi, Interested in installing solar panels on my Bergen County Home. Can anyone recommend a installer . What would I expect the cost to be for a 5 to 7 killorwatt system ? Does NJ still offer any rebates , sale tax other incentives ?

    1. Dave Llorens says:

      The economics in NJ are possibly the best in the Country. Each home is different, I would need much more information. Fill this out and One Block Off the Grid can make you a quote using satellite photos, all over the phone, no need to come over to your home unless you decide to do it.


  55. mdancicco says:

    I want a free estamate and free install

    1. Dave Llorens says:

      Well, we can do the free estimate part!


  56. hillary says:

    Can anyone recommend a company/bank willing to finance a commercial 174KW commercial install?

  57. Hillary says:

    I am looking for a company willing to finance a commercial install in NJ for a 174KW system. Does anyone know which banks or any private entities that may help the owners finance this project?

  58. ritewinger says:

    SF, hopefully that will indeed be true, because I think there is an order that NJ electric companies must produce 20% of their total energy via clean energy by 2020. I’m starting a solar panel installation business and would hate to see the rebates disappear, UNLESS panel pricing would drop by a significant amount to make the rebate system unnecessary. I think the rebates hurt the industry in that people think of solar as a “gimmick” industry and a fad, as opposed to a long term solution. Can you imagine if 20, 30, 50% of Americans installed panels on their property??? AMAZING!!!

  59. ritewinger says:

    FYI, Gov. Christie froze all the rebates on NJ Clean Energy last week. So every NJ state rebate is in limbo right now. These rebates are a substantial reduction in the cost of your new solar system, so if they go by-by, then solar in NJ will suffer a MAJOR setback.

    1. Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Thanks, Ritewinger for the news. Our understanding is these cuts may not apply to these particular NJCE funds, as they were already dedicated. But let’s see how that plays out.

  60. Susan says:

    In response to owning solar panels, we hooked up about a year ago, our electric bill in the summer months is about $3.00. We are able to sell our SREC (each time you accumulate 1000kw it equals 1 SREC, sells for approx $500.00-$670.00. You can make around $8,000.00 a year. Winter months you don’t make as much, understandably. We are quite happy with the system.. HOWEVER… Has anyone determined if we claim the sales? Are we exempt because the money comes from us doing our part to preserve the planet? We still have to pay off the remaining balance of the system, although we were fortunate enough to get a good deal… Any answers???

    1. Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Susan, I’m sorry, but we’re very limited on our tax advice here, since we’re mainly solar geeks, not tax geeks. My guess is that this would be treated as income but not sure about that. I would check with a tax advisor or your utility….who would be issuing that MISC 1099, I believe. If you haven’t gotten one, then perhaps it is indeed exempt…for now.

  61. glen says:

    i am considering getting solar panels on my roof. The only thing stopping me is that i don’t know anyone who has it. the installation company has told me i can get approx 1 srec credit per month, about a $600.00 value currently. I just would love to hear from someone who has this installed and the results they are getting as far as srec payments.

  62. Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

    Hey, Brian. I agree, but many companies do offer some kind of financing. In some states like Hawaii, the state also offers 0% financing for solar hot water. Then there’s the new trend in PACE financing, where you finance solar through a special tax assessment on your property.

    Since every area and utility are different, I urge you to take the time to get a quote and your installer will tell you about the different types of financing available in your area.

    Thanks for commenting.

  63. Brian says:

    All this requires is low cost financing, if an individual has to tap his own resources not everyone has the credit to add 15k to 20k on top of their current credit needs. Guarantee financing at 5% for 10 years and the energy savings makes this an easy choice. Make people figure out their own financing options and it limits the number of people this will be viable.

  64. Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

    James, excellent questions for a tax geek. We are solar geeks here, so please don’t take our advice without double checking with your specialist.

    First, the answer to many of your questions will depend on whether you are a business or a residence. If you are a resident, our understanding is that your state rebate is not taxable as income from the Feds or the state.

    The income from RECs, on the other hand, I have no guidance on that. I suspect that it would be income because you have the option to sell them or not to sell them.

    I’m not sure about the depreciation factor in New Jersey. However, I can tell you that solar systems in NJ are exempt from sales tax and any property tax increase.

    Hope that helps. Please double check with your tax expert.

  65. James J Kovalcin says:

    Here is a question I have not seen addressed anywhere on the web!
    What are the tax consequences of the “profits” generated from a solar installation in New Jersey?
    Are the SREC’s taxable at either the federal or state levels?
    If so, can the solar photo voltaic system be depreciated over the lifetime of the installation?
    Is the New Jersey state rebate taxable on the federal level?

  66. dave conifer says:

    My system (9.12 kw) is going to pay itself off in no more than four years, and that is without figuring in any rate increases for electrical power.

    I can’t see how the solar panels would increase (or decrease) the risk of fire. The panels, even at peak sunlight, are no hotter than the shingles already on a roof. It’s not like they generate an open flame or anything.

    It is a serious structural commitment to install the panels, which are bolted through the shingles and plywood right into the support structure of the roof. I’m not worried about it since I re-shingled before the panels went on but someday, somebody might need to do a new roof. It’ll be their problem (to have the panels removed and then reinstalled).

  67. Artstacks says:

    Is there any increased risk of fire when installing a solar or other green energy system?

    1. Dan Hahn says:


      I can only speak to solar installations on this. Solar panels will keep your roof slightly more dry, so if you’re depending on a nice wet roof all the time to retard fires in your attic, you’re out of luck. That scenario being very unlikely, no, there is not any increased fire risk since all the conduit is protected and you won’t be seeing any sparks fly out of it. Would be more eye catching if it did spark up though, no?

  68. Kevin says:

    I have a large southern facing field on a 3 acre residential lot in clinton twp. i was thinking of trying to put a large solar system in that exceeds my residential needs but i was told that Nj may limit what I can sell back to the grid. Any resources that i can check out to verify? Thanks

    1. Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Hey, Kevin,

      Not sure of the fine print, but check out this NJ program website for the “guidebook download.”

      I do know that the size of a residential system is limited to 10kW, so can’t go more than that. Net metering rules apparently allow you to go above your annual usage and be compensated for that at the “wholesale’ rate, but I’m not sure if there’s a cap on how much you can exceed.

      There’s some contact info on this site as well to ask more specific questions:

      Hope that helps.

  69. Bill Bugge says:

    I have trouble understanding the sale of SRECs.

    One is generated for every 1000KW of solar electricity your system produces, correct?

    It seems you can sell them for an amount based on the current market (ranging between $100 and $700 over the past few years). I currently am charged about 15 cents per KW by my electric company. That’s $150 per SREC. How can they sell for $650? The law of supply and demand?

    So you not only don’t pay for electricity, you are paid to produce it, sometimes exorbitantly? Doesn’t make economic sense.

    Something else doesn’t make sense. If you are paid to produce electricity, isn’t that an incentive to waste it? If you keep all your appliances on 24 hours, all lights etc, you earn more!

    Correct me where I’m wrong, please.


    1. Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Bill, did you read this post and the comments below?

      There’s an explanation of the price in the comments.

      As to being paid to waste energy, I think you’re misunderstanding the concept of an SREC. It’s not that you’re paid for the energy you USE, but the energy your solar panels PRODUCE. Your panels produce energy, whether you use it or not. Any excess is sent to the grid, and you get credited through net metering at night.

      So, by buying your SRECS-which you don’t have to sell, by the way– the utility is complying with the law. It’s saying to the NJ legislator, “Hey, see Bill’s solar panels? I just bought his SRECs. You’ve made me buy 20% of my power from green sources, and, well, shoot, we don’t own many green sources right now. But Bill, he’s got 4kW of green solar energy. So if I buy his “SRECs” then you’ll credit me for producing green energy, not coal fired, and you won’t penalize me for not complying with the law to produce so much green energy by a certain time.”

      So an SREC is like a gold star for utilities. They need to pay for them on the open market unless they own their own by building solar or wind farms. The price for an SREC is going to go up or down, depending on how many are for sale, but it’s more complicated on that. Read that post above.

      Hope that helps!

  70. Peter says:

    I am not sure if this is still the case – does anyone know if do-it-yourself installation can get NJ rebate?
    Installing panels on the roof is very simple and all would need do is hire an electician to make nessesary connections to the grid (less then $1000). It looks to me that about 30% of the installation cost is going into someones pocket. If I could get NJ rabate myself that would lower my cost and it would only take 3 years to recuperate costs.

  71. dave says:

    Tom, check out my blog. It’s got lots of information on some contractors and what rebates and grants are available.

    Also check out the New Jersey Clean Energy Program website:

    You’ll have to find a way to put down a chunk of money but you can minimize it by taking the federal tax credit (now completely uncapped), the NJ rebate which goes directly from the state to the contractor (not from your pocket).

    After you’re producing energy you can sell your SRECs. You’ll earn one SREC for every 1,000 KWH you generate (for me that will be about every four weeks). Right now SRECs are selling for about 600 bucks.

    Of course, you’ll also get to watch your meter spin backwards and get credited for all the energy you put out onto the grid if you don’t need it.

  72. dave says:

    “The return on a typical residential system takes about 15-20 years depending on the size and configuration of the system. The system itself has a life or 20-25 years. Do you see the problem here?”

    These numbers just aren’t right. My 9.12 KW system is going to pay itself off in 4-5 years max (federal tax credit, NJ rebate, reduced/eliminated electric bill, SREC sales). The NJ rebate has shrunk since I received mine but I think the payback period in years is still single digits. Heck, I’ll rake in 6 grand a year in SREC sales alone (conservative estimate).

    There’s no reason to think the system will last only 20-25 years. In fact, the manufacturers and installers warranties are usually for that time period which tells me that they they think the system life is longer. It’s really a simple system with no moving parts. Many panels from the seventies are still operating at 80% capacity or better.

  73. garrett says:

    i am looking to start a career in the solar industry i have no experience and would like to join a company to train me in the do i find the right one?

  74. Tom says:

    I am looking into installing Solar Power System on my home. can anyone point me in the right direction for a grant or low financing?

  75. les says:

    I recently purchased Solar panels for my house i live in NJ and since 1980 there has been a law that exempts these purchases from Sales Tax, but they charged me Sales tax anyway, saying a need some tax exempt status,what forms if any do i need to get a refund from the dealer?

  76. Michael says:

    I have had my system since 2005 and the only time I have noticed it needed cleaning (decreased output) was during pollen season when we had not had rain for some time. A quick spray of the hose took care of washing it off. Unless you live near the shore (salt buildup can be an issue) normal rainfall should be fine. Most systems shouldn’t get leaves on them as trees need to be far enough from your roof to not cast any shadows. We added a squirel guard after installation to protect the wiring from nest builders so you may want to have that done during install.

  77. Janice says:

    I am adding a room to my home and reconstructing the roof to accomodate it. I’m out of money but would like to incorporate solar energy into the construction. Are there grants out there that would give me enough to put it into my new construction without significant extra cost?

  78. David Llorens says:

    Hi d,

    You should try to rinse the panels off about twice a year. If you never rinse them off and let the rain do most of the work, it will not kill your system. Grime is not so awful, the killers are like big maple leaves, bird poop, anything that blocks a large section.

    you can get away with never cleaning them if you have no large debris, if you do, you need to regularly clean that stuff off.

  79. d says:

    can anyone enlighten me on yearly maintenance costs to a grid-tied photovoltaic system on a two-story house? i pressume the panels have to be cleaned of dust and debris?

  80. Alice Diane Celebre says:

    Regional: Green Buildings Open House, October 4th
    On Saturday, October 4, 2008, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association is welcoming the public to visit local sustainable homes and buildings throughout New Jersey and the Northeast to see clean renewable energy at work. Visitors to these buildings will be able to see how their neighbors and businesses are reducing their carbon footprint and cutting their energy bills through the power of the sun, wind, and smart building design.

    The Green Buildings Open House operates in conjunction with the National Solar Tour. Homeowners and facility managers across all 50 states will be showing visitors the latest in recycling, renewable energy technologies, sustainable building materials, and energy efficient appliances.

    Take a local tour to learn how you, too, can save by going green.

    To find the Green Buildings Open House sites nearest you, visit

    Regional businesses, Basil Bandwagon Natural Market, 908-788-5737 ( and Basil Brook Organic Pharm 908-788-6864, will participate in the open house again this year and provide information on Energy Star rated products, solar electric, Solatubes, Solar Star attic fans, passive solar design, solar pool heating, solar hot water, kickbikes, and an all electric car “charged by the sun.”
    Posted by Michael Shapiro, Editor at 12:30 AM

  81. rich says:

    were can i buy them direct ,the pannels ,?? i am overqualifyied to do the work but i am not aposed to saving money

  82. Quong Lew says:

    With the price of energy going up and with no end in site. I would like to install solar panels, but with the cost and life of the photovotaic cells at 25 years, it doesn’t make any sense at this time.

  83. earthbru says:

    So what is actually available today? The rebates are all used up and are not being renewed and the State legislature does not seem to be able to pass a law regarding the SRECS. Perhaps if they could find a way to use this to enable them to borrow another billion dollars against the taxpayers wishes they would be more inclined to do it.

  84. headshot zod says:

    I must correct myself. I wound up looking into this after I posted. Supposedly in NJ adding solar panels will not give the local municipality the ability to increase your property taxes.

  85. headshot zod says:

    Raising property values in NJ usually leads to higher property taxes so you may never recoup your investment.

  86. B. Killpatrick says:

    Thought I just heard on the news about a special financial incentive program to help farmers / agricultural producers in NJ install solar. Can’t be part of the residential incentive program that was defunded in 2007 … Any idea what this is?

  87. Vincent Nestore says:

    Is there and if so a tax credit for solar heating my pool instead of gas or electric? Thanks

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