On January 10, 2011, both houses of the New Jersey State Legislature overwhelmingly passed Senate bill S2126, as amended, which I am going to refer to as the "solar landfill bill.” This new legislation affords developers the right to construct a solar or photovoltaic energy facility or structure on sites located in the Pinelands that contain a landfill or a closed resource extraction operation that operated pursuant to a resource extraction permit on or after December 31, 1985, provided that any such development shall be consistent with the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan and shall comply with the other requirements set forth in the bill. Should Governor Christie approve Senate bill S2126, the Pinelands Commission would have up to 120 days to adopt rules and regulations that provide applicants with a process for obtaining approvals to develop these facilities and structures.
In addition to supplementing the Pinelands Protection Act, Senate Bill S2126 provides that under the Municipal Land Use Law a solar energy facility or structure on any landfill or closed resource
extraction operation shall be permitted within every municipality and that a wind energy generation facility or structure on any landfill or closed resource extraction operation shall be permitted within every municipality outside the Pinelands.
Senate bill S2126 presently sits on the Governor’s desk and awaits further action. If this newly enacted piece of legislation is signed into law by Governor Christie, it will undoubtedly create new opportunities for the expansion and distribution of renewable energy resources in New Jersey.