Returning home to New Jersey for the weekend I was surprised to see lines of solar panels along neighborhood streets and major highways. Instantly, I began to research changes that the local electricity company PSE&G (Public Service Enterprise Group) had made. A new program began in July 2009, called “Solar4All”. With the $515 million dollars the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities invested in energy, PSE&G plans to create a three tier project with utility installations, centralized installations, and third party installation. The programs installation and operation will generate 80 MW of solar by 2013. This amount would of energy is capable of providing energy for 64,000 homes and in terms of CO2 emissions would be the equivalent of removing 9900 cars off the road. The benefits of this program are clear, not only will it provide green jobs for the state, but also it will help improve the state’s air quality by reducing carbon dioxide and Greenhouse Gas emissions.
The plan calls for 40 MW of energy to come from the installation of solar panels on 200,000 utility poles (Giving New Jersey the largest utility pole installation in the world!). The remaining solar energy will come from the solar farms that are in the process of being developed in Trenton, Edison, Yardville, and Linden. This energy will help the state fill its 2020 energy requirement of obtaining 4.4% of its energy from solar. Additionally, it will give New Jersey its place as having the highest solar capacity next to California.
In mid October the power company announced its plans to partner with Newark Public Schools for both energy and educational purposes. Four large solar systems will be dedicated to the schools and a green energy education program will be launched. This education program will teach high school students about renewable energy sources and their importance. The program will also include career and job opportunities in green energy for the students. Looks as though New Jersey will have a brighter future with PSE&G tackling two key issues: green energy and education.