NJ Solar Businesses Criticize ‘Anti-Solar’ Wage Legislation


A coalition of solar energy businesses, electrical contractors, independent electricians, and solar energy workers has called on Gov. Jon Corzine, D-N.J., to veto legislation (A.3372/S.2340) that the group says will increase costs for ratepayers and cost the state hundreds of new green energy jobs.

The coalition characterized the bill as an ‘oppressive new mandate’ on all renewable energy and energy efficiency installation projects in New Jersey, with the sole exception of residential projects, by imposing New Jersey Department of Labor ‘prevailing wage’ law on those projects. Prevailing wage is synonymous with union wage rates and often forces businesses to hire union labor and subcontractors at an additional cost, the coalition says.

‘[This legislation] is anti-solar because it will result in increasing the labor costs of solar by 180 percent,’ states Dennis Wilson, vice president of the New Jersey division of the Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association. ‘If signed, this bill will increase a solar system's total cost, increasing it by as much as 30 percent.

‘In effect, this will kill many contracts and discourage already fragile private investment,’ he continues. ‘The end result could be that solar energy will wither and clean energy jobs will suffer.’

A.3372/S.2340 applies to all energy efficiency projects, along with renewable projects such as wind, solar and biomass. The legislation pertains to any project that receives any approval or any authorization by the NJ Board of Public Utilities.

SOURCE: Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association

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