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Public Service Electric & Gas, (PSE&G) New Jersey's largest power company, has been installing solar panels on PSE&G owned poles across its distribution network. The goal is to have the largest pole-attached solar installation in the country. PSE&G will invest in, own and operate the grid-connected solar energy systems with the collaboration of experienced solar developers, installers and manufacturers.
With about 5% of the 200,000 solar panels have been installed so far, mostly in central New Jersey, the project is expected to take 2 years. Installation requirements are that the poles must have a clear view to the south, can support the weight, and do not have more than one transformer. New Jersey is among the nation's leaders in alternative energy, with a solar generating capacity second only to California's.
The panels will feed electricity into the grid, creating about 40 megawatts of power. That represents about a 40 percent increase over New Jersey's current solar capacity, largely created over the last four years through State and Federal rebates on solar installations for businesses and homeowners. With the 2020 mandate in mind, power companies are working on a variety of projects across the state.
What will this project cost? $773 Million. The program to put solar panels on utility poles is expected to raise residential bills up to 34 cents a month.
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, which regulates power companies, estimates that energy spending in the state will climb 56 percent by 2020 through a combination of increasing fossil-fuel costs and the implementation of alternative energy technologies.
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