Long in the forefront of the solar industry, New Jersey has dropped to number three nationally in terms of both cumulative solar capacity and 2012 installations, behind California and Arizona, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. Although 415 megawatts of New Jersey's cumulative 971 megawatts of solar were installed last year, it was still eclipsed by Arizona's 710 megawatts, bringing it to a cumulative 1,097 megawatts.
The major difference between New Jersey and the top two was that California and Arizona have seen massive solar utility installations.
Although New Jersey's 415 megawatts installed in 2012 is more than double that of Nevada, the fourth-place state, Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said the state's drop from the second slot was evidence of the Christie administrations failed environmental policies, which have eliminated solar rebates and have raided the Clean Energy Fund to close state budget holes. Tittel said that until Christie's moves, the state was on track to meet its aggressive clean energy goals but now is in danger of being passed by other states, and it will jeopardize the estimated 5,000 solar jobs in New Jersey.