The New Jersey Legislature passed A3352, which would require all new warehouses to be solar-ready buildings. The bill now awaits signature from Gov. Phil Murphy.
A3352 defines a warehouse as any building that is 10,000 square feet or more and primarily used to store goods for resale. New warehouses built on or after July 1, 2022 will need to be optimized for solar. If the structure or building is intended to use hot water, then it also must allow for the installation of a solar water heating system.
Following A3352’s passage, Scott Elias, senior manager of state affairs for the Mid-Atlantic at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said the bill is another opportunity for New Jersey to make progress on its goal to reach 17 GW of solar by 2035.
In an op-ed for local press, Megan Steele, the communications coordinator for the Sierra Club New Jersey Chapter, proposed that the legislation could be used to expand community solar programs for low- and moderate-income families by opening up warehouse projects to these customers.
Warehouse sprawl has become a big issue in the Garden State. A survey conducted by Newmark, a commercial real estate advisory firm, found the aggregate area of leased warehouse space in the northern and central parts of the state grew by 11.1 million square feet in the first quarter of 2021. Alongside this, South Jersey has become a hotspot for construction.
Efforts are also being made to ensure that new warehouses in New Jersey are not developed on environmentally sensitive areas such as sensitive farmland and near residential areas, due to concerns over stormwater runoff, traffic congestion, and increased pollution.