Bill Text: NJ S422 | 2022-2023 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Prohibits municipal zoning ordinances from regulating solar panels under certain circumstances; limits fees for certain renewable energy installations.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2022-01-11 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Environment and Energy Committee [S422 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2022-S422-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 422

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

220th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2022 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  BOB SMITH

District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Prohibits municipal zoning ordinances from regulating solar panels under certain circumstances; limits fees for certain renewable energy installations.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Act concerning renewable energy and supplementing P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.).

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a.  No governing body may adopt a zoning ordinance regulating the installation on residential property of photovoltaic solar energy systems when:

     (1)   in the case of a roof-mounted system, the photovoltaic solar panels and all accessory equipment extend 12 inches or less beyond the edge of the roofline or above the highest point of the roof surface or structure; or

     (2)   in the case of a surface level or ground-mounted system, the system consists of 10 or less photovoltaic solar panels and is situated more than 50 feet from the nearest property boundary line.

     b.    A municipality may adopt an ordinance regulating the installation on residential property of photovoltaic solar energy systems that do not meet the standards established in subsection a. of this section; however, nothing in this subsection shall preclude an applicant from seeking a variance from any such ordinance.

      c.    As used in this section, "photovoltaic solar panel" means an elevated panel or plate, or a canopy or array thereof, that captures and converts solar radiation to produce power, and includes flat plate, focusing solar connectors, or photovoltaic solar cells.

 

     2.    A municipal ordinance regulating the installation on residential property of photovoltaic solar energy systems or small wind energy systems shall not require payment of any fee that exceeds the municipality's costs for reviewing and approving an application pertaining to the installation or operation of a system.

     As used in this section, "small wind energy system" shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 1 of P.L.2009, c.244 (C.40:55D-66.12).

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would supplement the "Municipal Land Use Law" to prohibit a municipality from adopting an ordinance which limits the right of a property owner to install solar panels on a residential property under certain circumstances.  A municipal ordinance would not be authorized to regulate the installation of photovoltaic solar energy systems when:

     1)    in the case of a roof mounted system, the panels, and all accessory equipment, extend 12 inches or less beyond the edge of the roofline or above the highest point of the roof surface or structure; or

     2)    in the case of a surface level or ground mounted system,  the system consists of 10 or less photovoltaic panels and is situated more than 50 feet from the nearest property boundary line.

     Section 2 of the bill would provide that a municipal ordinance regulating the installation of a photovoltaic solar energy system or small wind energy system on residential property shall not require payment of a fee that exceeds the municipality's costs for reviewing and approving an application pertaining to the installation or operation of a system.  The purpose of section 2 of the bill is to prevent municipalities from imposing excessive fees unrelated to application and review costs because it is the State's policy to encourage installation of photovoltaic solar energy systems wherever possible in the State and to discourage actions that would have a chilling effect on such installations.

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