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Senate Environment Committee Advances Legislation to Encourage Cleaner Energy

Trenton – In an effort to encourage more individuals to utilize renewable energy and electric vehicles, the Senate Environment Committee today passed four bills that would facilitate the use of more sustainable energy sources.
S-329, sponsored by Senator Bob Smith (D-Middlesex/Somerset), would establish the “Solar Roof Installation Warranty Program” within the state Economic Development Authority (EDA) and transfer $2 million from societal benefits charge from the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to initially fund program.
“Solar roof panels provide an easy way for individuals across the state to utilize solar energy to power either their homes or businesses,” said Senator Smith. “However, while good for the environment, these panels can damage the roof during installation, leaving home and business owners to repair them on their own. This program will provide warranties to owners who install solar equipment on their building roofs, but are unable to obtain the sufficient warranty coverage from installation companies in the event of damage to their roofs.”
S-2846, sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth), would require State agencies that are seeking to purchase an item requiring a power source to include in the request proposals for the consideration of items powered by fuel cells.
“Fuel cells use the chemical energy of hydrogen or another fuel to cleanly and efficiently produce electricity,” said Senator Gopal. “Fuel cells can be utilized to power a number of systems—from a utility power station to a laptop computer, we can implement fuel cell energy into almost every facet of life.  This bill will help to increase the use of fuel cells within State government agencies and set an example for private companies to also do the same.”
S-3184, sponsored by Senator Linda Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex), would provide corporation business tax credit and allow gross income tax deduction for the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charging stations.
“Electric vehicles are the future of the automobile industry, providing a much cleaner energy source than vehicles that utilize fossil fuels,” said Senator Greenstein. “However, while electric vehicles are gaining popularity, charging stations can be scarce and hard to come by.  This bill will incentivize the construction of electric charging stations, which will hopefully encourage more consumers to make the switch to electric.”
The bills passed the committee by votes of 4-1, 5-0,  and 5-0, respectively.