Monday, January 31, 2011

Pro-solar bills to get NJ committee hearing on Thursday

Separate but identical  Senate and Assembly bills designed to overcome municipal roadblocks to the installation of solar installations will receive a hearing on Thursday
(Feb. 3) in the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee in Trenton, NJ.

Both S-2006 (Smith) and A-3125 (Quijano) limit the restrictions that a municipality could impose, through zoning ordinances, on the installation of residential energy panels.

The bills allow 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,
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 legislation also prohibits municipalities from imposing any fee that exceeds the municipality's processing costs for an application pertaining to the approval, installation, or operation of a system.
The fee limitation also would apply, under the bills, to small wind-energy systems.

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