Pending legislation in New Jersey would require newly-constructed warehouses to be solar-ready. In early June of this year, the NJ legislature passed bill A3352 which, if signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy, would see all warehouses constructed on/after July 1, 2022, required to include a building design optimized for solar. The bill passed by margins of 46-24 in the Assembly and 25-13 in the Senate.
With the state’s warehouse sector booming, legislators are keen to ensure that the rapid development within the sector contributes to NJ’s overall push toward clean energy and, in particular, the development of solar PV. The bill, when signed, would require 40% of the area of a new warehouse roof to be structurally capable of housing solar PV or thermal systems. This area is calculated once space occupied by skylights, roof decks, vegetative areas, and other objects is removed from the calculation.
Under the bill, any building which is 100,000 square feet or more and primarily used to store goods for resale is considered a warehouse. Additionally, if the building intends to use water, it must also allow for the installation of a solar water heating system.
This new legislation would bolster efforts to reach the targets outlined in the New Jersey Energy Master Plan (EMP). Under the EMP, NJ has set the ambitious goal of generating 34% of its total electricity consumption from solar energy by 2050. As of 2020, approximately 5% of New Jersey electricity came from solar generation. With the state reluctant to encourage development of solar projects on greenfields, the use of commercial buildings such as warehouses will be vital if NJ is to reach EMP solar targets.
Scott Elias, senior manager of state affairs for the Mid-Atlantic at the Solar Energy Industries Association, offered the following statement at the time of the bill’s passing:
“We commend Senator Smith and Assemblymen Kennedy, Stanley, and Calabrese for passing A3352, a commonsense bill that will make sure these massive warehouses use designs that facilitate clean energy use. Solar-ready buildings can significantly reduce the cost and time associated with retrofitting buildings for a solar installation. These are modest changes to building designs, but they can significantly impact a building’s ability to easily and cost-effectively transition to solar and storage.”
In addition to this proposed solar-focused legislature, efforts are being made to avoid the development of new warehouses in environmentally sensitive areas such as farmlands or residential zones. This is to combat concerns around stormwater runoff, traffic congestion, and increased pollution.
How Solar Panels Can Benefit New Jersey Warehouses
There are a number of reasons why solar panels are an optimal energy solution for warehouses in New Jersey and businesses across the state are starting to realize this. Just recently, an Amazon warehouse in NJ installed 30 acres worth of solar panels on its rooftop, making it one of largest rooftop solar installations in the country. The roof space at this particular warehouse is over 1 million square feet, but warehouses of any size can benefit from solar.
For commercial property owners and managers, NJ is one of the best locations in the country to go solar, thanks to electricity savings, tax incentives, and more. Below, we have briefly highlighted some of the key reasons why warehouses in New Jersey should consider installing solar panels.
Ideal Surfaces: New Jersey warehouses typically have huge, flat roofs, making them ideal candidates for solar PV systems. A large, clear space allows for the installation of a bigger system, leading to greater energy output and, as a result, increased savings.
Solar Panel Efficiency: Typically, warehouses are located in open areas with little shading on their roofs. This is ideal for solar panels as it ensures strong annual sunlight exposure, making the panels as efficient as possible.
Low Maintenance: Solar panels are built to last. They are extremely durable, come with lengthy warranties, and require virtually no maintenance. Generally, the only maintenance that may be required is an occasional rinse with a hose to keep the panels free of debris.
Reduced Operating Costs: Solar panels can take a huge chunk out of your utility bill each month, massively reducing energy costs and consistently saving you money across their lifespan. Large, commercial solar installations will generally pay for themselves within 3 to 7 years and, once the payback period is over, you’re generating free electricity for the remaining 20+ years the panels continue to operate.
These are just some of the reasons why NJ warehouses should consider solar. If you’re interested in developing your own New Jersey solar project, reach out to YSG Solar today. YSG has over ten years of experience in the solar industry and will be able to guide you through any solar project, whether it’s a commercial rooftop installation, a community solar subscription, or a solar land lease. To learn more, call now at 212.389.9215 or send us an email.
YSG Solar is a project development company responsible for commoditizing energy infrastructure projects. We work with long-term owners and operators to provide clean energy assets with stable, predictable cash flows. YSG's market focus is distributed generation and utility-scale projects located within North America.