TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey lawmakers are pushing forward with legislation that would require the construction of solar energy systems for all future school projects. The bill, known as A1084, is one of at least two recent state initiatives, the other occurring in Pennsylvania, that aim at making solar installations more attractive or necessary to build for schools in those states.
Last month, the New Jersey State Legislature’s Assembly Education Committee approved A1084 and referred it to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which currently has possession of the bill.
The proposed measure mandates that schools built by public school districts or the New Jersey Schools Development Authority have a solar array before receiving approval for construction by the state’s commissioner of education. Proponents have cited benefits ranging from the cost savings and environmental friendliness of using solar to how large, flat school roofs provide ideal spaces for the systems. Other proponents say the bill lacks the wording “where feasible” for those districts without suitable cites for solar.
Opponents of the bill, like Assemblyman David W. Wolfe (R-Brick Township), say requiring solar panels may not be feasible period for every school district.
“We cannot in good conscience support this legislation without the identification of an appropriate funding source,” said Wolfe and other opposed assemblymen in a prepared statement. “School districts are facing serious financial difficulties and the bill’s fiscal impact on those districts, as well as the state, could be significant.”