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  • NJ A2446
  • Establishes "Solar Roof Installation Warranty Program" in EDA and transfers $2 million from societal benefits charge to initially fund program.
Introduced
(2/4/2016)
In Committee
(5/11/2017)
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill establishes a "Solar Roof Installation Warranty Program" (program) within the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (authority). The purpose of the program is to provide a source of indemnification to commercial, industrial, and institutional building owners who install solar photovoltaic equipment on their building roofs but are unable to obtain sufficient warranty coverage against damage to those roofs resulting from such installations. To implement the program, the authority is required to establish, administer, and maintain a "Solar Roof Installation Warranty Fund" (warranty fund) in a trust account, separate and apart from other funds, in consultation with the Department of Banking and Insurance and the Board of Public Utilities (BPU). The purpose of the warranty fund is to: 1) provide moneys sufficient to pay claims by commercial, industrial, and institutional building owners, who are participating in the fund, for damages to building roofs due to the installation or design of solar photovoltaic equipment that are not covered by a warranty or insurance policy; and 2) pay the costs of administering the solar roof installation warranty program, including the costs of obtaining sufficient reinsurance to prudently protect the fund against unanticipated risks and costs incurred by the authority in the discharge of its duties. The bill provides that applications for participation in the warranty program are to be submitted by commercial, industrial, and institutional building owners at the time of installation of solar photovoltaic equipment on the roof of a building located in the State, in a form and manner determined by the authority. The applicant must demonstrate to the authority that the solar photovoltaic equipment installer does not offer a comprehensive 20-year warranty on the roofs upon which the equipment is installed and that the installation of the equipment is not covered by any other warranty or insurance policy. The application fee would be $1,000. The maximum amount to be paid from the warranty fund for a loss to a participant for any one building would be $50,000. The application fee paid by commercial, industrial, and institutional building owners would be forwarded to the authority to be accounted for and credited to the warranty fund. The bill provides that, prior to making a claim against the fund for damages covered by the warranty, a building owner must notify the installer of such damage and allow a reasonable time period for repair. If the repairs are not made within a reasonable time or are not satisfactory to the building owner, the building owner may file a claim against the warranty fund in the form and manner prescribed by the authority. The bill requires the authority to investigate each claim to determine its validity, and upon a finding that the building owner is without fault with respect to the damage for which the claim is made, determine the amount of the award to be made. If a claim is denied or the amount of the award is contested, the building owner may request a hearing. If an award is made from the warranty fund, the total amount of an award from the warranty fund could not exceed the maximum amount authorized in the bill or the cost of repairs, whichever is less. The authority may provide for surcharges against those building owners who are responsible for a significant number of awards against the warranty fund and may discontinue the participation in the warranty fund of any building owner who is responsible for an excessive number of awards against the warranty fund, after a hearing. The bill directs that $2 million be transferred by the BPU from available balances accumulated in accounts of the board from funds collected through the societal benefits charge, for deposit into the warranty fund. It also requires the BPU to make additional deposits of $500,000 each fiscal year thereafter until the warranty fund has been credited with a cumulative total of $5 million. The bill further provides that, if in any fiscal year thereafter the balance in the fund falls below $2 million, the BPU is to make a one-time deposit of $3 million into the warranty fund.
Telecommunications and Utilities
Reported as an Assembly Committee Substitute and Referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee  (on 5/11/2017)
 
 

Date Chamber Action Description
5/11/2017 A Reported as an Assembly Committee Substitute and Referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee
5/11/2017 Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Hearing (19:00 5/11/2017 AR-239 DeAngelo (pending intro & referral) Expresses opposition )
2/4/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
Detail 5/11/2017 Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee: Reported with Substitution 5 2 1