Interactive Map: Charting New Jersey’s Energy Efficiency Projects

Each dot represents a company, business or individual who received a grant through the Direct Install program. Click on a dot to get more information on a grant. To find locations in those areas with the highest concentrations of grantees, please zoom in.

Source: NJ Board of Public Utilities.

New Jersey has been spending about $1.3 million a month for energy efficiency improvements at small businesses, schools, and municipal facilities through the Direct Install program.

Between May 2010 and September 2012, the state paid more than $37.7 million for more energy-efficient lighting, refrigeration, heating and air conditioning, and other items, according to data from the Board of Public Utilities. Nearly 1,600 companies and government bodies participated in the program, which works out to an average just shy of $25,000 apiece. The grants, which cover 70 percent of the cost of the work, range from as little as $229 for a small Montclair business to $259,000 for nine township-owned properties in Middletown.

Typically, businesses are eligible for Direct Install if their peak demand did not exceed 150 kilowatts in any of the prior 12 months. And many local governments are also eligible. A contractor will evaluate a property and then recommend and install new equipment, including lighting, occupancy sensors, programmable thermostats, and other energy-efficient gear. The customer is liable for 30 percent of the installation costs, but should also benefit from annual energy savings.

According to the BPU, clean energy measures last an average of 15 years. Each dollar invested saves the typical home owner $4 and the typical industrial client $11. Between 2001 and 2010, the state’s Clean Energy Program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 34 million metric tons.

Direct Install, which began in September 2009, is one of a number of clean energy programs funded by the Societal Benefits Charge paid by every utility customer. The SBC costs the average residential customer $56 a year in electrical charges and $51 in gas fees. Between 2001 and 2010, some $1.2 billion has been spent in support of the state’s Clean Energy Program, according to its website.

More recently, state officials have been diverting some of the money earmarked for the Clean Energy Program into the general fund to help balance the budget. According to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, those diversions were: $40 million in June 2009, $158 million in June 2010 as part of a supplemental appropriations bill, $77.5 million in the 2011 fiscal year, $252.5 million in 2012, and $131.5 million in the current fiscal year.

Since its inception, Direct Install has paid about $50 million for energy efficiency upgrades. According to its proposed current-year budget, Direct Install is the largest of nine energy efficiency programs targeted at industrial and commercial users. Some of the other programs address new construction, retrofits, and energy audits.

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