Friday, June 11, 2010

Solar & wind bills to get hearing in NJ Legislature



Two new bills designed to stimulate the installation of solar energy panels and the development of offshore wind energy farms will be considered on Monday by the New Jersey Senate Environment and Energy Committee. 

Introduced on May 27 by committee chairman Bob Smith, S2006 would limit the restrictions that a municipality could impose, through zoning ordinances, on the installation of residential energy panels.

The bill allows municipalities to limit the installation of solar panels on the roof of a residential building or structure only if the panels, and all accessory equipment

     - rise more than 12 inches above the roof surface, z

       or highest  point or
     -  extend more than 12 inches beyond the roof line."  

The measure allows the adoption of zoning laws for ground-based solar panels on a residential property only when

     -  the total number of solar panels is greater than 10 and
     -  the solar panels are located less than 50 feet from the nearest
         property boundary line.

The wind energy bill, S2036, dubbed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, is a major piece of alternative energy legislation sponsored by New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney.

The 31-page bill directs the state Board of Public Utiliti
es to develop an offshore wind renewable energy certificate (“OREC”) program to require that a percentage of electricity sold in the State be from offshore wind energy.

This percentage would be developed to support at least 1,100 megawatts of generation from qualified offshore wind projects, and would serve as an offset to the renewable energy portfolio standard and reduce the corresponding Class I renewable energy requirement.

We'll have more on both alternative-energy bills as they progress through the New Jersey Legislature.

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