STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2018 SESSION
Senator BOB SMITH
District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)
Senator LINDA R. GREENSTEIN
District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)
Exempts solar energy systems from building fees.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.
An Act exempting certain solar energy systems from fees and amending P.L.1985, c.85.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 1 of P.L.1985, c.85 (C.52:27D-130.2) is amended to read as follows:
1. No person shall be required to pay a [municipal] fee or charge in order to secure a construction permit or receive plan review for the installation or alteration of a solar energy [heating or cooling] system in any building or part thereof. As used in this [act] section, "solar energy [heating and cooling] system" means a solar energy system which is certified as eligible for an exemption from property taxation as a renewable energy system by [the Department of Community Affairs] an enforcing agency pursuant to [P.L.1977, c.256 (C.54:4-3.113 et seq.)] P.L.2008, c.90 (C.54:4-3.113a et seq.).
(cf: P.L.1985, c.85, s.1)
2. Section 2 of P.L.1985, c.85 (C.52:27D-130.3) is amended to read as follows:
2. The installation or alteration of a solar energy [heating or cooling] system in any building shall not be subject to any fee, including any surcharge or training fee, imposed by any department or agency of State government pursuant to any law, or rule or regulation. As used in this section, "solar energy system" means a solar energy system which is certified as eligible for an exemption from property taxation as a renewable energy system by a local enforcing agency pursuant to P.L.2008, c.90 (C.54:4-3.113a et seq.).
(cf: P.L.1985, c.85, s.2)
3. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill would exempt the installation or alteration of certain solar energy systems from the payment of building fees and charges. The bill would, essentially, reactivate a 1985 statute to reinstate an expired fee exemption provision. Then and now, by reducing the soft costs associated with the installation of solar energy systems, this law will make these systems more affordable, encourage more New Jerseyans to install solar energy systems, and help reduce our State’s reliance on fossil fuels.
The Legislature first exempted the installation of solar energy systems from the payment of construction fees in 1985. However, the 1985 law, P.L.1985, c.85 (C.52:27D-130.2 et seq.), provides that only solar energy heating or cooling systems certified as eligible for exemption from property taxation by the Department of Community Affairs pursuant to P.L.1977, c.256 (C.54:4-3.113 et seq.) are exempt from the construction permit and associated fees.
The property tax exemption statute referenced in the 1985 law, N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.113 et seq., was of limited duration. It provided a property tax exemption for solar equipment from 1977 through 1987. In 2008, New Jersey again enacted legislation exempting solar energy systems from real property taxation.
The current property tax exemption law, N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.113a et seq., applies to certain renewable energy systems. Current law defines: “renewable energy system” as “any equipment that is part of, or added to, a residential, commercial, industrial, or mixed use building as an accessory use, and that produces renewable energy onsite to provide all or a portion of the electrical, heating, cooling, or general energy needs of that building.” The definition of the term “renewable energy” includes “(1) electric energy produced from solar technologies, photovoltaic technologies, . . . and (2) energy produced from solar thermal . . . technologies.”
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.