Last night's GOP presidential debate centered around economic policy and topics ranged wildly. Discussions jumped from Trump's wall to the runaway blimp. Energy policy was not in the mix.

Outside a quick mention of fracking in Ohio, the only other discussion of energy came from Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

He began, "We should be investing in all types of energy." Christie went on to say that New Jersey is ranked third in the country in solar installations thanks to the private sector.

Is that true?

According to GTM Research's latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report, New Jersey is in fact ranked third in cumulative solar installations.

Source: U.S. Solar Market Insight report

"Why?" continued Christie. "Because we work with the private sector to make solar energy affordable and available to businesses and individuals in our state."

That point is a little bit murkier. Is the private sector to thank for New Jersey's success in solar?

New Jersey's success has been driven largely by its SREC program -- which GTM Research's MJ Shiao notes is "technically market-based." Shiao also points to Christie signing what was known as the "resurrection bill" in 2012, which inserted the visible hand of government into a faltering program.

New Jersey's tenure as the nation's third-ranked solar state might be over soon. GTM Research forecasts North Carolina to surpass New Jersey in cumulative solar PV installations by the end of 2015.

Don't miss the U.S. Solar Market Insight Conference, featuring state-level data and policy discussions.