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Panels No Longer Considered ‘Impervious Surfaces,’ Allowing Construction in Environmentally Sensitive Areas

(TRENTON) — Legislation sponsored by Assembly members Upendra J. Chivukula, Annette Quijano and John F. McKeon exempting solar panels from designations prohibiting construction in environmentally sensitive areas of the state was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Chris Christie.

“When talking about improving sustainability or increasing New Jersey’s reliance on green energy, making it easier to construct solar panels and solar energy collectors just makes sense,” said Chivukula (D-Somerset), chairman of the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee. “Integrating solar energy into our development and environment master plans is the way to go.”

Under the new law (formerly A-2289) New Jersey’s definition of “impervious surface” or “impervious cover,” as it relates to land use and development, is amended to exclude solar panels, making it possible to integrate solar energy into the development and management plans of the state’s environmentally sensitive areas.

“We are laying the groundwork to ensure that New Jersey remains at the forefront of sustainable energy generation,” said Quijano (D-Union). “This is an investment in New Jersey’s energy future that will pay dividends for years to come.”

“Advancing an alternative energy economy is key to our state’s energy independence and our national security,” said McKeon (D-Essex), chairman of the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee. “Increasing our options for installing solar panels furthers our national leadership in the use and development of renewable sources.”

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