Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Passaic County Not So Hot On Solar Panel Program

Apparently, the volatility of the Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) market is not only a concern to the Passaic County freeholders, but to would-be contractors as well. Not one contractor submitted a bid to perform the construction of solar panels on public buildings in Passaic County.   Too risky?

From the The Record:

"Some experts warn that the certificates could become worthless in the decade ahead as utilities expand their own renewable energy capacity. For example, PSE&G, North Jersey's largest power utility, has been placing solar panels throughout the region, reducing its need to buy SRECs."

"Under the original proposal, the county's Improvement Authority — its chief financing arm — would sell as much as $30 million in bonds to pay for construction of solar panels on public buildings in towns and cities. But after the county put forward projections that showed the project could cost $18.4 million more than the revenue it would generate, the Nov. 10 bid deadline came and went without a single bid submitted."

"The County's requests for proposals included projections that showed income would not cover costs. No developers bid on the project."  (emphasis mine)

According to the article, the advisors on this Passaic County panel project are the same advisors who formulated the Morris County Model and counseled Union County and Somerset County on their solar panel projects. This isn't a conflict? Aren't all the counties who are went along with this solar scheme competing with each other to sell their SREC's? Not only that, by flooding the market with solar panel projects, it seems to me that the very advisors are, to some extent, the cause of the volatility. According to this article, the DeCotiis law firm received about $1.3 million in fees from the three counties.

"The DeCotiis firm declined requests by The Record for interviews of its representatives. Instead, a public relations agency retained by the firm responded to emailed questions from The Record."  That's odd.  Jonathan Williams of the DeCotiis law firm seemed so eager and enthusiastic when touting this scheme to Union County.  Why use a public relations firm?

If the Passaic County scenario projects that the costs could be more than the revenue generated, that would seem to hold true for the Union County solar panel scheme.  It never made any sense to begin with.  Elected officials are so easily hoodwinked.

Of course, New Jersey could accelerate the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and it appears the Christie administration is prepared to do just that.  That means traditional energy prices will be jacked up for ratepayers to subsidize "feel good" unsustainable solar energy.  

See full Record article here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the Governor's brother have a stake in a green energy consulting business? Green energy is the biggest SCAM going.