New Jersey Conservation Foundation
New Jersey Conservation Foundation Menu
NJCF Homepage Contact Us Donate Events Search NJCF
New Jersey Land Conservation Organization
Donate to New Jersey Conservation Foundation
State We're In New Jersey Conservation Foundation Blog
Many ways to harness the sun
11/11/2011 Volume XLIV, No. 44

You’ve probably noticed the proliferation of small solar panels mounted on utility and street light poles around this state we’re in.

Judging by local buzz and letters to the editor of local newspapers, some folks think these mini solar panels are an eyesore.  On a purely aesthetic basis, they may have a point.  And each solar panel generates only about 220 watts of electricity. But in certain aspects, these panels are a prime example of renewable energy done right.

The pole-mounted panels are part of a Public Service Electric & Gas program dubbed Solar 4 All – a $515 million investment in solar energy that leverages existing company assets and relationships to add 80 megawatts of solar capacity by 2013.  As the program name implies, the energy generated goes into the general pool from which all PSE&G customers draw.

By installing up to 200,000 of the 15-square-foot solar units on utility poles, PSE&G is able to spread out what is the equivalent of 170 acres of solar panels.  This is known as a “distributed” power generation system, and it will generate 40 megawatts – or enough energy to power up to 8,000 average-size homes. It’s the world’s largest pole-mounted solar project.

The alternative to a distributed solar power system is “centralized” power generation, like large solar fields or traditional power plants that are located in one spot.  This type of intense industrial use is not appropriate for farmland and other open space lands.

In Trenton and Linden, PSE&G’s centralized solar power generation sites are vacant brownfields.  Converting brownfields to solar is a great use for land that is too polluted to safely support most other land uses.  The company is also adding rooftop and carport solar systems to its facilities in Edison and Somerset.

Of course, there are plenty of flat rooftops that PSE&G doesn’t own, so the Solar 4 All program also includes third-party locations where the utility pays for the use of the site to install solar panels.  Fourteen projects are in various stages of negotiation, development and construction, including solar systems at five Newark public schools.  And each site uses existing hardscape, like rooftops and parking lots, rather than covering open space or valuable farmland soils.

New Jersey’s other major utilities have expanded their solar portfolios as well, and they are looking to use utility poles. 

Creative installation of solar panels on rooftops, parking lots, brownfields and, yes, utility poles has helped the Garden State make a bid to become the new “Sunshine State” – behind only California in solar power generated. 

For more information about the Solar 4 All program, go to

If you’d like more information about conserving New Jersey’s precious land and natural resources, please visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s website at or contact me at



Still the Garden State!

Protect New Jersey's wildlife homes

Preserved lands protect clean air and water

To tree or not to tree?

Hard cider in the Garden State

Turkey Time

American shad return to New Jersey river after 173 years

Act now to avoid worst climate impacts

NJ Natural Lands Trust celebrates 50 years

Must love bats!

Move and improve your health!

Renewable energy: Save money and our land, water, air and health

Speak up for endangered species!

Save the bugs!

Check out New Jersey's fall bird migration

A little bit of respect...for native plants!

Explore New Jersey's wildflower meadows

All aboard floating classrooms

Catch the Perseids meteor shower!

Check out the 'fun' in fungi

Too hot to think? Studies shows heat affects your brain

Love NJ's outdoors? Take action now!

New Jersey's official reptile, the bog turtle

Sea level rise and New Jersey: Not perfect together

These New Jersey plants have an appetite for insects

Explore the Pine Barrens through paddles, hikes and tours

Like to jog? 'Plog' instead and keep NJ clean

Love Jersey fruit? Thank our native pollinators!

Good news for globally rare swamp pink lilies

Say cheese! Remote cameras aid wildlife research

Begone, single-use plastic bags!

3,000 birds and counting for 'bluebird grandfather'

The Pine Barrens gets some help from its friends

A clean energy future for New Jersey

Cowtown and rare grassland birds, perfect together

Fight light pollution during International Dark Sky Week

New film tells story of how Petty's Island was saved

Ten years of nipping invasive species in the bud

Welcome spring in a county park

Go for a walk and feel better!

Grab a friend and go outside

Recycle your way to zero waste!

Last call for winter wildlife watching on Jersey coast

Without its 'understory' layer, the forest will collapse

From whale songs to poetry, a remarkable journey

A cleaner, greener New Jersey

Let's keep New Jersey the Garden State, not the Pipeline State

New Jersey's winter hikes

'Trees don't vote' but Byrne saved Pine Barrens anyway

Governor-elect Murphy should set new course on the environment


December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011


New Jersey Conservation Foundation on FacebookNew Jersey Conservation Foundation on TwitterNew Jersey Conservation Foundation on FlickrNew Jersey Conservation Foundation YouTube ChannelShare      
New Jersey Conservation Foundation           Bamboo Brook, 170 Longview Road, Far Hills, NJ 07931           908-234-1225 
home  | nj statewide eventscontact us  |  sitemap  |  privacy policy  |  DONATE