Having a goal of 22% renewable power usage by the year 2020, New Jersey’s Public Service Electric and Gas Company has embarked on a program to provide one third of that power by mounting solar cell panels on existing telephone poles. This terrific idea will be funded both by customers, who will pay about 10 cents extra per bill during the first year, 35 cents a year thereafter, but also by hooking those panels into the main grid, and selling the excess power on the open market.
Municipal buildings, schools and other statewide institutions would also have solar panels mounted roof side. This will be an ambitious $773 million dollar project, but again, the cost is expected to be recovered within 15 years or so.
The best part of all of this is the number of new jobs that will be created. Estimates for job creation number in the hundreds, and not only will these be good paying jobs, they will be trained skilled labor jobs as well.
The green part of all this are the elimination of 1.7 million tons of greenhouse gases which is like removing 310,000 cars from the road for about one year. That is a near staggering statistic, but that’s exactly the type of zero emissions technology that solar cells bring.
This catapults New Jersey as the next most solarized state in the union, second to only California. Yet who would have thought a northern state like this would begin wholesale conversion to this type of sustainable energy? The truth is, as solar panels become more efficient, they can now be used in places with not as much sun, but they’ll still deliver plenty of electricity.
Our hats are off to New Jersey on this one, and I’m willing to bet that more states, at every latitude, are going to start following suit. It just makes so much dollars and cents.