PSEG Is Investing $1 Billion in Solar Energy

PSEG solar energy
The PSEG Essex Solar Center is Vermont’s largest solar farm (photo courtesy of Encore Redevelopment).

PSEG’s chairman and CEO, Ralph Izzo, has written a blog post announcing that his company will be investing $1 billion in solar energy.  The majority of this money will be spent to develop or help finance solar installations in New Jersey.  They plan to build large, utility-scale community solar projects.  It should also be noted that Mr. Izzo took this opportunity to promote the big utility agenda that rooftop solar is uneconomical and unfair to other utility customers.  This huge solar energy investment is no doubt part of their plan to keep their share of the energy market, rather than lose it to residential and commercial rooftop solar.

Here is his blog post:

Toward the end of his extraordinary life Thomas Edison said:

I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power!

I’m proud to lead a company that’s helping to realize Thomas Edison’s inspiring vision: At PSEG, we’ve put our money on the sun and solar energy to the tune of more than $1 billion over the last seven years – yielding a rich and growing harvest of green energy and jobs on the path to a more sustainable future.

We’ve dedicated the largest part of this investment to develop or help finance solar installations in New Jersey. Our efforts are playing an important role in helping the Garden State achieve its renewable energy goals – benefiting all of our customers, creating jobs and growing a new industry. PSEG is also active in developing solar energy facilities across the country: We’ve expanded our solar portfolio to 12 states.

Traditionally, people haven’t thought of us as a solar company, but to a growing extent, we are and proud to be. There isn’t a cleaner or more inexhaustible power resource than the sun. With our eyes on the future, we recognize how critical it is to meet the desire we all have for cleaner energy.

But costs need to be considered, too. While the sun’s energy is free, converting it into electricity is not. Solar technology still has a way to go to be fully cost competitive.

Moreover, we can’t overlook the fact that the typical solar rooftop owner in New Jersey has almost twice the income of the general population, but receives subsidies paid for by all customers, including low-income urban residents. The issue is not the amount spent on solar subsidies. Rather, it is how those subsidies are distributed. We need to focus on ways to expand access to solar while keeping energy affordable, especially to protect low-income families and ensure fairness for all.

Universal access to electricity and gas has always been the heart of our Public Service mission. We want to provide the same universal access to solar. Large, utility-scale community solar projects like the ones we’ve been busy building offer a number of significant advantages for our customers at all income levels:

First, through economies of scale, we’re able to provide solar energy that costs 40 percent to 50 percent less than what is commonly the case with rooftop solar.

Second, our grid-connected community solar facilities feed clean energy to all of our customers, including many who live in houses or apartment buildings where it isn’t practical to install solar.

Third, by creating solar farms on landfills or former industrial sites known as brownfields, New Jersey is expanding its clean energy footprint, making underutilized land productive again and preserving precious open space.

We embrace a future in which our customers will enjoy an even larger harvest of renewable energy from the sun. At the same time, it’s important to recognize that our nation will continue to need a diverse range of clean, efficient energy resources. Nuclear energy, for example is a carbon free fuel.

We’re not going to bet on a single fuel or resource. But there’s no doubt about the direction in which we need to go: It’s toward the bright future that Thomas Edison foresaw long ago, at the dawn of our modern age – with energy from the sun increasingly yet prudently tapped to make things better for everyone.

Ralph Izzo, Chairman, President & CEO PSEG

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.

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