TRENTON – An Assembly committee signed off on a solar thermal expansion bill Thursday that would pave the way for low-interest loans for expanding solar development in the state.
The bill, A2507, sponsored by Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, (D-32), Secaucus, is being touted as job-creating legislation that would clean up the environment, the bill’s sponsor said. The Telecommunications and Utilities Committee voted 5-2 to approve the legislation.
“New Jersey is second in solar in the country only to California, which is 20 times the size of New Jersey,” Prieto told State Street Wire earlier in the week, and repeated to members of the committee during Thursday’s meeting.
“Solar (expansion) has slowed down a bit,” he said. “It has gotten difficult for people to be able to afford these programs so we wanted to see how … we could deliver these low-interest loans.”
The bill would establish a commission to study solar energy expansion and appropriate loans. As written, the bill would set aside $10 million for the program.
“I believe in creating jobs,” said Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, (D-17), Franklin Township, chairman of the committee. “I think the idea is very good.”
Both Republican lawmakers serving on the committee, Assemblywoman Donna Simon, (R-16), Flemington, and Assemblyman Gregory McGuckin, (R-10), Brick, opposed the bill.
The committee also cleared Chivukula’s electric cooperative legislation.
The bill, A2316, authorizes certain municipalities and rural electric cooperatives to establish a municipal shared services energy authority. It was approved unanimously on a 7-0 vote.