New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Accepting Subsection “r” Expressions of Interest

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“BPU”) announced that it will be accepting Expressions of Interest for subsection “r” applications (“EOI”) during the period from 9:00 a.m. on June 1, 2016, through 4:00 p.m. on July 15, 2016.

Subsection “r” of the Solar Act of 2012 (the “Act”) provides that a grid supply solar facility seeking eligibility for the generation of SRECs on or after June 1, 2016, must apply to the BPU for an appropriate designation (a “Subsection ‘r’ Application”). The Act provides that the BPU shall approve a Subsection “r” Application if it determines that:

  1. The SRECs forecasted to be produced by the proposed facility do not have a detrimental impact on the SREC market or on the appropriate development of solar power in New Jersey;
  2. The approval of the designation of the proposed facility would not significantly impact the preservation of open space in New Jersey;
  3. The impact of the designation of the proposed facility on electric rates and economic development is beneficial; and
  4. There will be no impingement on the ability of an electric public utility to maintain its property and equipment in such a condition as to enable it to provide safe, adequate and proper service to each of its customers.

The rule proposal implementing procedures for accepting and evaluating Subsection “r” Applications was published for public comment on March 7, 2016, and pursuant to applicable law the comment period ended sixty days later on May 6, 2016. Given the need for due consideration of and response to submitted comments, and the additional lead time required by the Office of Administrative Law for publication of the final rules, the rules cannot take effect prior to June 1, 2016. As such, the BPU has implemented the following procedure until such time as the final rules are promulgated:

  1. All entities that are considering filing a Subsection “r” Application in energy year 2017 (June 1, 2016 – May 31, 2017) shall file an EOI using the proscribed form. The EOI must be filed no later than 4 p.m. on July 15, 2016.
  2. Potential applicants with a confirmed timely submission of an EOI are anticipated to have two opportunities (December 1, 2016 and March 1, 2017) to submit a completed application pursuant to a yet to be approved application process.
  3. The BPU will initiate a public stakeholder process following July 15, 2016, to request comments on a cap on the optimal number of megawatts that the BPU should approve for SREC generation in energy year 2017 pursuant to subsection “r” (the “Cap”).
  4. Prior to the opening of the first application window the BPU will announce the Cap.

It is important to note the following:

  1. Potential applicants that have submitted an application under subsections “s” or “q” of the Act are not eligible to apply under subsection “r”.
  2. Facilities proposed on farmland are not eligible.
  3. Potential applicants with projects that have been denied under subsection “t” of the Act may submit an EOI.

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