New Jersey is rapidly moving ahead with a plan to bring the benefits of solar energy to urban and low-income residents.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law in May to enable the program to begin by early next year.

Pari Kasotia, the mid-Atlantic director for the advocacy group Vote Solar, explains the "community solar" concept "basically allows different people who cannot benefit from solar energy to finally have a way to get clean energy."

"For example, if you live in an apartment building, or if you are a commercial business owner who is using a shared place for your business, you may not have the ability to put your own rooftop panels. Community solar allows these customers to subscribe to a solar farm that is located at or near your community. And the subscription model allows you to subscribe to a piece of the solar farm and receive the benefits of solar energy as credit on your utility bills."

Initially, they hope to construct 150 megawatts of community solar projects around the state in the next three years.

Tuesday is the deadline for public comment to the state Board of Public utilities.

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