Greenstein, Singleton Bill to Help Small Businesses Become More Energy Efficient Advances

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senate Law and Public Safety Committee Chairwoman Linda Greenstein and Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Troy Singleton that would require the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) to establish and administer a program that makes low-interest loans available to eligible small businesses for certain costs of energy audits and energy efficiency or conservation improvements advanced from the state Senate Environment and Energy Committee today.

“We want to encourage all businesses to be energy efficient and this bill will help smaller businesses do just that,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “This will enable eligible businesses to apply for low-interest loans for an energy audit and then apply for a low-interest loan to make some of the recommended changes of the audit. Helping businesses become more energy efficient helps their bottom line and benefits our environment, as well.”

“New Jersey is leading the nation in its efforts to promote energy efficiency across our state – whether it’s in our homes, our schools or in our places of work,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “This initiative is just another way the State, through the EDA, can help smaller businesses identify ways to save energy and become more energy efficient. Working in conjunction, the EDA, the BPU and the DCA can then provide qualifying businesses with affordable loans so they can buy and install energy efficient equipment.”

The bill would require the EDA, in consultation with the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) and the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), to make low-interest loans available to an eligible small business for 100 percent of any unreimbursed costs to the small business for an energy audit of any of the small business’ buildings as long as the audit was conducted by a contractor licensed by the board.

Additionally, the bill permits the EDA to make low-interest loans to eligible small businesses for 100 percent of any unreimbursed costs for the purchase and installation of energy efficiency or conservation equipment at any of the business’ buildings as a result of the energy audit.

An eligible small business is defined in the bill as one that is independently owned and operated, operates primarily within New Jersey and satisfies other criteria that may be established by the authority.

If approved by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor, the bill would take effect immediately, but remain inoperative for 60 days following the date of enactment.

The bill, S-1606, was approved by a vote of 5-0, and now moves to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration.