Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Christie Signs Bill to Boost Solar Energy

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Christie Signs Bill to Boost Solar Energy

Article excerpt

Governor Christie signed a Democrat-backed bill Monday that he says will help jump-start solar energy projects across the state and create jobs.

"We're taking a huge step to maintain New Jersey's position as a national leader in the solar industry," he said during the signing in the State House. "Already the solar industry in New Jersey has created thousands of jobs, generated over 800 megawatts of clean energy and helped businesses thrive and grow."

Christie, a Republican, noted that all of the lawmakers standing behind him as he signed the measure were Democrats.

"Having renewable energy in our state, having it be a larger part of our portfolio, creating jobs, is not a Republican issue or Democratic issue," he said. "It's an issue that the people of our state demand we work on together."

Christie said the law is in line with his 2011 Energy Master Plan, which calls for the strengthening of the state's solar market and maintaining New Jersey's reputation as a national leader in solar energy.

Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, thanked Christie for signing the bill, saying solar projects would have died without it. But he also said it does not go far enough.

"With this bill we are going to see a sunrise, not a sunset," Tittel said in a statement. "This is only a temporary fix since this will only last around two years, but what we really need is a long- term fix."

Environment New Jersey also applauded Christie, while expressing concern for the future.

"The recent boom in solar development demonstrates that our state's potential is much greater than previously anticipated," Matt Elliot, Environment New Jersey's clean energy advocate, said in a statement. "Moving forward, longer-term state policy must keep up with that potential. We should be increasing the state's overall clean energy requirements and ensuring more of our clean energy goals are carved out for solar specifically. In the short term, however, this bill will ensure that New Jersey continues to be a solar leader. …

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