The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has approved an agreement with the Rutgers University Agrivoltaics Program (RAP) to facilitate the development and implementation of a Dual-Use Solar Energy Pilot Program over the next three years.
The program is designed to demonstrate and study the compatibility of agricultural or horticultural production with solar photovoltaic infrastructure on the same property. It will allow for the installation and operation of up to 200 MW DC of solar installation capacity over three years, extendable by the board to up to 300 MW DC over five years. Individual solar projects would be limited to 10 MW DC.
The program and the results from its associated research requirements will inform a permanent program that includes standards for construction and operation of dual-use solar energy projects.
“The approval of this pilot program will provide an avenue for New Jersey farmers to gain an additional revenue source while also benefiting from the governor’s clean energy strategy,” NJDA Secretary Douglas Fisher says. “The outstanding work being done by the Rutgers Experiment Station is an example of agricultural innovation and opportunity.”
The pilot program will provide incentives to solar electric generation facilities, located on unpreserved farmland, which plan to maintain the land’s active agricultural or horticultural use. The NJBPU anticipates that projects seeking to participate in the program will be determined after a competitive process.
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Author: Michael Bates