New Jersey: the Solar State?

So, I understand that New Yorkers are famous for kicking around New Jersey, and I'd bet that some of our colleagues in the Treehugger office have been guilty of this a time or two. It turns out, though, that the Garden State may be on the forefront of solar energy development:

When solar-power executives toured New Jersey's Meadowlands last month, checking out a $25 million plan to cover 30 acres of enclosed landfill, roofs and parking lots with panels - touted as the nation's largest solar farm - Thomas Leyden of PowerLight Corp. called it a "Persian Gulf" of opportunity. ...

Last month, New Jersey updated its goals and is counting on solar to supply 2 percent of its power needs by 2020. Only California has a plan as ambitious.

The state also has a rebate program for homeowners, funded by extra charges on electric bills. Coupled with federal rebates, New Jersey residents that install solar panels could see their investment repaid in 10 years, as opposed to the normal 20 to 30. Even Jersey schools are in on the development: nine in Bayonne alone save the school district $500,000 a year, "roughly what it spends on textbooks." "You don't usually think of New Jersey as the solar hub of the world," [the Union of Concerned Scientists Marchant] Wentworth said, "but it is rapidly becoming so." Go Jersey! ::Philadelphia Inquirer via the Sierra Club Compass

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