Last year was a record one for new solar installations in New Jersey, as the state increased capacity by 447 megawatts.

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Joseph Fiordaliso said there were more than 7,000 state residents employed in the solar industry in 2019, and "we're pushing 120,000 solar installations in the state of New Jersey."

"We are in the top five as far as solar installations in the entire country, and it is bringing us closer and closer and closer to the governor's goal of a carbon-neutral environment by 2050, along with many of our other renewable energy initiatives as we continue to go along here," Fiordaliso said.

He said the BPU is "a very busy agency, but we are a very satisfied agency, because we are seeing things happen that are so important for the 9.3 million people who live in our state."

In 2019, as part of its new Community Solar Energy Pilot Program, the NJ BPU awarded nearly 80 megawats of renewable energy capacity across 45 community solar projects that will power low- and moderate-income communities, and expand access to renewables to an estimated 15,500 homes.

New Jersey's total solar capacity now stands at 3,190 megawatts, up from 2,743 in the year 2018. But Fiordaliso conceded the sudden hard economic times may not make this a stellar solar year.

"I think that we can probably say that the production may not be as great. But the governor has taken an aggressive lead in getting New Jersey through this crisis," he said.

Joe Cutter is the senior news anchor on New Jersey 101.5