2020 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 4 - Agriculture and Domestic Animals
Section 4:1C-32.4 - Certain generation facilities, structures, equipment permitted on preserved farmland.
4:1C-32.4 Certain generation facilities, structures, equipment permitted on preserved farmland.
1. a. Notwithstanding any law, rule or regulation to the contrary, a person who owns preserved farmland may construct, install, and operate biomass, solar, or wind energy generation facilities, structures, and equipment on the farm, whether on the preserved portion of the farm or on any portion excluded from preservation, for the purpose of generating power or heat, and may make improvements to any agricultural, horticultural, residential, or other building or structure on the land for that purpose, provided that the biomass, solar, or wind energy generation facilities, structures, and equipment:
(1) do not interfere significantly with the use of the land for agricultural or horticultural production, as determined by the committee;
(2) are owned by the landowner, or will be owned by the landowner upon the conclusion of the term of an agreement with the installer of the biomass, solar, or wind energy generation facilities, structures, or equipment by which the landowner uses the income or credits realized from the biomass, solar, or wind energy generation to purchase the facilities, structures, or equipment;
(3) are used to provide power or heat to the farm, either directly or indirectly, or to reduce, through net metering or similar programs and systems, energy costs on the farm; and
(4) are limited (a) in annual energy generation capacity to the previous calendar year's energy demand plus 10 percent, in addition to what is allowed under subsection b. of this section, or alternatively at the option of the landowner (b) to occupying no more than one percent of the area of the entire farm including both the preserved portion and any portion excluded from preservation.
The person who owns the farm and the energy generation facilities, structures, and equipment may only sell energy through net metering or as otherwise permitted under an agreement allowed pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection.
b. The limit on the annual energy generation capacity established pursuant to subparagraph (a) of paragraph (4) of subsection a. of this section shall not include energy generated from facilities, structures, or equipment existing on the roofs of buildings or other structures on the farm as of the date of enactment of P.L.2009, c.213 (C.4:1C-32.4 et al.).
c. A landowner shall seek and obtain the approval of the committee before constructing, installing, and operating biomass, solar, or wind energy generation facilities, structures, and equipment on the farm as allowed pursuant to subsection a. of this section. The committee shall provide the holder of any development easement on the farm with a copy of the application submitted for the purposes of subsection a. of this section, and the holder of the development easement shall have 30 days within which to provide comments to the committee on the application. The committee shall, within 90 days of receipt, approve, disapprove, or approve with conditions an application submitted for the purposes of subsection a. of this section. The decision of the committee on the application shall be based solely upon the criteria listed in subsection a. of this section and comments received from the holder of the development easement.
d. No fee shall be charged of the landowner for review of an application submitted to, or issuance of a decision by, the committee pursuant to this section.
e. The committee may suspend or revoke an approval issued pursuant to this section for a violation of any term or condition of the approval or any provision of this section.
f. The committee, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Agriculture, shall adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), rules and regulations necessary for the implementation of this section, including provisions prescribing standards concerning impervious cover which may be permitted in connection with biomass, solar, or wind energy generation facilities, structures, and equipment authorized to be constructed, installed, and operated on lands pursuant to this section.
g. In the case of biomass energy generation facilities, structures, or equipment, the landowner shall also seek and obtain the approval of the Department of Agriculture as required pursuant to section 5 of P.L.2009, c.213 (C.4:1C-32.5) if the land is valued, assessed and taxed pursuant to the "Farmland Assessment Act of 1964," P.L.1964, c.48 (C.54:4-23.1 et seq.).
h. Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, the construction, installation, or operation of any biomass, solar, or wind energy generation facility, structure, or equipment in the pinelands area, as defined and regulated by the "Pinelands Protection Act," P.L.1979, c.111 (C.13:18A-1 et seq.), shall comply with the standards of P.L.1979, c.111 and the comprehensive management plan for the pinelands area adopted pursuant to P.L.1979, c.111.
i. For the purposes of this section:
"Biomass" means an agricultural crop, crop residue, or agricultural byproduct that is cultivated, harvested, or produced on the farm and which can be used to generate energy in a sustainable manner.
"Net metering" means the same as that term is used for purposes of subsection e. of section 38 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-87).
"Preserved farmland" means land on which a development easement was conveyed to, or retained by, the committee, a board, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization pursuant to the provisions of section 24 of P.L.1983, c.32 (C.4:1C-31), section 5 of P.L.1988, c.4 (C.4:1C-31.1), section 1 of P.L.1989, c.28 (C.4:1C-38), section 1 of P.L.1999, c.180 (C.4:1C-43.1), sections 37 through 40 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-37 through C.13:8C-40), or any other State law enacted for farmland preservation purposes.
L.2009, c.213, s.1.