New Jersey solar-ready warehouse bill is now law

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law bill A3352, which requires all new warehouses in the state to be built as solar-ready buildings.

When first passed by the state legislature earlier this year, the bill defined a warehouse as any building 10,000 square feet or larger and that primarily is used to store goods for resale. That definition has since been changed to 100,000 square feet or more.

Now, new warehouses built on or after July 1, 2022 will need to be optimized for solar. If the structure is intended to use hot water, then it also must allow for the installation of a solar water heating system.

In practice, each warehouse must reserve a section of a roof or building overhang for the future installation of a photovoltaic or solar thermal system which is at less 40% of the roof area.

Upon A3352’s initial passage, Scott Elias, senior manager of state affairs for the Mid-Atlantic at the Solar Energy Industries Association said the bill was another opportunity for New Jersey to make progress on its goal to reach 17 GW of solar by 2035.

Warehouse sprawl

Warehouse sprawl has been an ongoing issue in the Garden State. A survey conducted by Newmark, a commercial real estate advisory firm, found the aggregate area of leased warehouse space in the northern and central parts of the state grew by 11.1 million square feet in the first quarter of 2021. Alongside this, South Jersey has become a hotspot for construction.

Efforts are also being made to ensure that new warehouses in New Jersey are not developed on environmentally sensitive areas such as sensitive farmland and near residential areas, due to concerns over stormwater runoff, traffic congestion, and increased pollution.

In an op-ed for local press, Megan Steele, the communications coordinator for the Sierra Club New Jersey Chapter, proposed that the legislation could be used to expand community solar programs for low- and moderate-income families by opening up warehouse projects to these customers.

Now that it is law, A3352 is set to take effect immediately.

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