PSE&G today received approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to invest $515 million in 80 MW of solar projects, doubling the state's solar capacity and creating green jobs. Under an agreement reached in its Solar 4 All filing, the utility expects to complete the installations by the end of 2013.

The program has two segments, each 40 MW in size. The first segment consists of installing a solar unit (small distributed solar system of approximately 200 watts) on 200,000 utility poles in PSE&G's service territory, which includes the state's six largest cities and roughly 300 rural and suburban communities. It will be the largest pole-attached solar installation in the world. The solar units will be connected directly into PSE&G's electric distribution system and the power will be sold into the PJM wholesale grid.

The second segment will focus on centralized solar, with PSE&G developing solar gardens and roof-top installations on facilities it owns and also at third-party sites.

"Our program will effectively double the size of New Jersey's installed solar capacity," said Ralph LaRossa, president and COO of PSE&G. "That is more solar capacity than currently exists in any state other than California. We have worked with New Jersey regulators and the solar community to develop a program that brings the benefits of solar to all of our customers."

PSE&G also announced today that it awarded the contract for the supply of the 200,000 pole-attached units to New Jersey-based Petra Solar. With headquarters in South Plainfield, Petra Solar has committed to make the solar units in New Jersey and expects to hire more than 100 employees to meet the needs of the contract.

The centralized solar segment of Solar 4 All, which involves projects of 500 kW or more, will consist of several sub-segments. The largest will be the development of 25 MW of solar gardens or rooftop installations at PSE&G-owned sites.

PSE&G is evaluating five specific sites for development, though site selection will depend on permitting and site suitability.

The five PSE&G sites in New Jersey are:

  • In Union County- property in Linden,
  • In Middlesex County- the Central Gas Plant in Edison.
  • In Burlington County- the Cox's Corner Switching Station in Evesham.
  • In Mercer County- the Yardville Area Substation in Hamilton and property adjacent to the company's gas and appliance service building in Trenton.

PSE&G will also work with solar developers to install 10 MW of solar on third- party sites and 5 MW in municipalities that have New Jersey Urban Enterprise Zones (UEZs) within PSE&G's electric service area.

PSE&G will receive federal tax credits and solar renewable energy credits, which will also be used to offset the cost to customers. PSE&G estimates that this program will cost its average residential customer about 10 cents a month in the first year of the program.