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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

NJCEP Greater than 10 kWp Solar Rebate Application Queue for Private Sector Installations - Market Analysis

The following is an analysis of the NJ Solar Rebate Application Queue for the Private Sector with system sizes greater than 10 kW (10,001 Watts and up).

This queue includes “complete” applications received by the Office of Clean Energy and awaiting rebate commitment approval in the NJCEP (New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program, http://www.njcep.com/ ) Customer On-site Renewable Energy (CORE) Program, and the queue was last updated on May 3, 2006. I tabulated the seven (7) pages of solar rebate applications in the CORE Queue by contractor, rebate amount, system size in DC kWp, and total installations.

There are a total of 306 solar rebate applications in the queue: 292 under CEP Approval Review, 1 Cancelled, and 13 retired because of miscoding or reduced system size. Analyzing the 292 active applications, the total application Rebate Amounts under review are about $111.2 million for 32030 kWp (~32 MW) of system capacity.

Click chart to enlarge

In the chart above, the distribution of System Size versus Rebate $ (dollars) per Watt for the applications can be viewed.

Since system sizes range from just over 10 kWp to 701 kWp, a simple system size average per installation is a useless statistic. Typical of residential and small business solar electric systems, 136 of the applications are between 10 kWp and 20 kWp in size. In fact, systems less than 45 kWp in size are 184 or 62.1% of the rebate applications but only 3227 kWp or 10.1% of the total system capacity. There are 225 applications for systems less than 131 kWp representing 20.1% of the total system capacity, while there are 33 systems sized 400 kWp or greater claiming 56.3% of total system capacity. Large solar electric systems dominate both rebate amount dollars and system capacity in the greater than 10 kW Private Sector Queue.

Eyeballing the chart, rebate applications are clustered from about $4.00 to $5.29 per Watt for systems below 50 kWp in size. I would suspect these high rebate levels are encouraging a spill over effect from less than 10 kWp systems. The new rebate schedule, effective March 16, 2006, should help to correct this effect. Systems less than 10 kWp in size will receive $4.35 per Watt rebates, while systems greater than 10kWp to 40 kWp will receive $3.20 per Watt rebates, a 24% difference in rebate per Watt. For systems above 50kWp in size, rebate applications range between $3.00 and $4.00 per Watt with a few exceptions, tending to be lower as the system size increases.
(Note: A data point with a $17.91 per Watt rebate for a 15.6 kWp system was discarded.)

The following are the top 10 contractor/installers with the highest dollar backlog of solar rebate applications under CEP Approval Review. For greater than 10 kWp system sizes, I have ranked these contractors by Rebate Amount dollars and cumulative system size; this is a better measure than the total installations ranking used for less than 10kWp system sizes.

Total Installs

Contractor

Total Rebate Amounts under CEP Approval Review

Total kWp
10Powerlight Corporation$15,169,801.004577.1
9PPL Energy Services Holdings,LLC$11,849,500.003600.0
33NJ Solar Power, LLC$10,532,183.202992.3
14New Vision Technologies$10,098,712.802857.3
4Dome-Tech Solar, LLC$7,046,524.002142.7
9WorldWater Corp.$6,377,593.601848.9
6e2ECTA, Inc.$3,988,168.001121.7
4Northern Power Systems$3,462,803.201013.4
3Solar
Integrated Technologies
$2,926,758.40900.2
3Solara Energy Inc$2,692,264.80721.5

While 59 contractors have rebate applications in the queue, the top 17 contractors applied for 80.8% of the Rebate Amount dollars under CEP Approval Review and 82.3% of the system capacity in kWp. The 50th through 59th ranked contractors had only one (1) rebate application in the queue for a system sized between 12 kWp and 20 kWp.

The Greater than 10 kW CORE Queue is also overdue for an update by the Office of Clean Energy. I would expect to see one “soon”. Given the large dollar backlog of $111.2 million in rebate applications relative to the CORE Program budget, I am pessimistic about seeing a large percentage of the application backlog being approved in the next update. I am curious to monitor how the Office of Clean Energy processes the solar rebate application backlog for greater than 10 kWp solar electric systems. Will the Office of Clean Energy approve a few large projects (greater than 130 kWp), many small projects (less than 45 kWp), and/or use transparent and objective criteria for solar rebate application approval?

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