A new bill introduced by Senator Troy Singleton could have a positive impact on New Jersey community solar programs and the state’s renewable energy use. Along with clean energy advocates, Singleton brought the NJ Clean Energy Equity Act Bill to the table. It’s intended to assist low-income families receive the benefits of clean energy, including the use of community solar farms.
Singleton introduced the bill in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to assist those in financial need. Director of Community Solar at GRID Alternatives, Tom Figel, spoke on the act, stating that it shows New Jersey’s leaders are focusing on providing all residents access to clean, renewable energy.
The bill will allow for funding to be used to expand the reach of renewable energy. The first step, the New Jersey Equitable and Resilient Solar + Storage Policy Roadmap, will help outline how low-income families will have access to clean energy. Among the resources set to be tapped into is New Jersey’s community solar, which allows families at all income levels to benefit from solar energy without building panels on their home.
To achieve the goals outlined by the NJ Clean Energy Equity Act Bill, the Department of Labor will draw up grant programs to focus on creating clean energy programs. The grants will also provide funding for training programs, including solar training to more than 2,000 people from low-income communities. Singleton’s bill will also require new residential builds in low-income communities to be solar-ready.
Advocates joining Singleton praise the bill for its forward-thinking on the issues of clean, renewable energy. CEO of Neighborhood Sun, Gary Skulnik, spoke of the bill’s ability to bring residents of New Jersey community solar programs regardless of where they live.
Singleton’s bill has been referred to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee, but no initial hearing has been scheduled.