Smith, Greenstein Bill to Make Solar Energy on Buildings More Affordable Advances

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Environment and Energy Chair Bob Smith and Senator Linda Greentstein that would exempt solar energy systems from building fees cleared the Senate Environment and Energy Committee today.

“Reinstating this statute will make solar panels more affordable to put on buildings,” said Senator Smith (D-Middlesex/Somerset).  “We have to further diversify how we generate energy in New Jersey.  Further implementation of renewables is a step in the right direction.”

“We have to encourage more people to add solar panels to buildings; this is a good way to achieve that goal,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer).

The bill, S-607, would exempt the installation or alteration of certain solar energy systems from the payment of building fees and charges. The bill would reactivate a 1985 statute to reinstate an expired fee exemption provision.  By reducing the soft costs associated with the installation of solar energy systems, the bill would make these systems more affordable, encourage more New Jerseyans to install solar energy systems and help reduce our State’s reliance on fossil fuels.

Although current New Jersey law exempts certain solar energy systems from property taxation, the statutory exemption from construction code fees is inactive because it cross-references an expired provision of law. By deleting the outdated reference, and replacing it with a reference to the current property tax exemption statute, enactment of this bill will reactivate New Jersey’s building fee exemption for the installation of solar energy systems.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 3-1-1, and next heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration.