New Jersey catching California in solar power
Despite its small size, New Jersey has emerged as one of the largest renewable electricity markets in the country through effective use of policy. A recent report from the Solar Energy Industries Association found that not only is New Jersey's solar market growing at a torrid pace, it has actually begun to catch up with California.
As the most populous and third largest state in the U.S., on top of being known for its warm, sunny climate, few people would be surprised to learn that California has long dominated the solar electricity market. In 2010, the SEIA reports that the state added 258.9 megawatts of photovoltaic solar capacity, compared to 137.1 megawatts from second-place New Jersey.
In the second quarter of 2011, however, the gap between New Jersey and California had fallen to as little as 18.3 megawatts. Meanwhile, New Jersey's commercial solar installations, the fastest growing segment of the market, actually outpaced those of California for the first time.
SEIA president and CEO Rhone Resch told USA Today that the commercial sector in New Jersey grew as much as 170 percent, bringing the state's solar installations to 24 percent of the entire country.