A recently enacted New Jersey law encourages the use of solar energy by allowing solar panels to be excluded from the computation of impervious coverage when determining whether a development project complies with impervious coverage limitations. The new law, P.L.2010, c.4 , amends the Pinelands Protection Act, Coastal Area Facility Review Act, Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act, County Planning Act, Waterfront Development Law, and Municipal Land Use Law, as well as laws pertaining to the conversion of age-restricted community developments.
Solar and Wind Energy Generation facilities may soon join the category of uses designated as permitted of right by New Jersey statute rather than by individual municipal ordinance, thus preempting municipal zoning powers granted under the Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq. (MLUL). Identical Bills, Senate S2126 and Assembly A3139 are pending before their respective house of the New Jersey’s legislature and would amend the MLUL to provide that Solar and or Wind Energy Generation Facilities, when installed on the sites of former landfills, quarries and other extractive industries, are permitted uses. This status would be equally applicable to both public and private sites where landfills, quarries or other extractive industries are closed or closing.