New Jersey is giving more low- and moderate-income families a chance to join in the push for greater dependence on clean energy.

The Board of Public Utilities has approved 105 applications to participate in round two of a pilot program for so-called community solar energy projects. Through each project, the solar energy output is divided among multiple participants — residents of an apartment complex, for example.

"The projects represent almost 165 megawatts of solar energy," BPU President Joseph Fiordaliso told New Jersey 101.5. "That's enough power to provide energy to over 33,000 homes."

The BPU received more than 400 applications for the initiative — approved applicants include private developers and government entities.

The projects will be located on landfills, brownfields, or rooftops.

"This program not only makes solar available to those in historically underserved communities, but also will spur economic growth and create career opportunities for a diverse, more inclusive workforce," Gov. Phil Murphy said.

Murphy's clean energy agenda aims to achieve 100% clean energy by 2050.

In the pilot program's first year, the BPU received 252 applications. The Board approved 45 applications, representing almost 78 megawatts in solar energy capacity. As of Sept. 30, the Board said, 20.3 megawatts of community solar were on line.

Fiordaliso noted that steps are being taken to turn the pilot program into a permanent venture.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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