PSE&G received approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to invest $515 million in 80 megawatts of solar projects, doubling the state’s solar capacity and creating green jobs. Under an agreement reached in its Solar 4 All filing, the utility expects to complete the installations by the end of 2013.

The program has two segments, each 40 megawatts in size. The first segment consists of installing a solar unit (small distributed solar system of approximately 200 watts) on 200,000 utility poles in PSE&G’s service territory, which includes the state’s six largest cities and roughly 300 rural and suburban communities. It will be the largest pole-attached solar installation in the world. The solar units will be connected directly into PSE&G’s electric distribution system and the power will be sold into the PJM Interconnection wholesale grid.

The second segment will focus on centralized solar, with PSE&G developing solar gardens and rooftop installations on facilities it owns and at third-party sites.

“Our program will effectively double the size of New Jersey’s installed solar capacity,” said Ralph LaRossa, president and COO of PSE&G. “That is more solar capacity than currently exists in any state other than California. We have worked with New Jersey regulators and the solar community to develop a program that brings the benefits of solar to all of our customers.”

PSE&G also announced that it awarded the contract for the supply of the 200,000 pole-attached units to New Jersey-based Petra Solar. With headquarters in South Plainfield, Petra Solar has committed to making the solar units in New Jersey and expects to hire more than 100 employees to meet the needs of the contract.

“It is great to see the promise of green jobs becoming a reality—especially in these rough economic times,” LaRossa said. “PSE&G programs approved by the BPU to promote energy efficiency, develop renewables and accelerate infrastructure investments are putting hundreds of New Jersey residents to work at a time when it is most needed.”

The centralized solar segment of Solar 4 All, which involves projects of 500 kilowatts or more, will consist of several subsegments. The largest will be the development of 25 megawatts of solar gardens or rooftop installations at PSE&G-owned sites.