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Commercial Property Alert: New Jersey Law Imposes Notification Requirements for Rooftop Solar Panels

Author: Victor E. Kinon|March 18, 2014

Solar panels are an increasingly popular way for New Jersey commercial property owners to both reduce energy costs and protect the environment.

Commercial Property Alert: New Jersey Law Imposes Notification Requirements for Rooftop Solar Panels

Solar panels are an increasingly popular way for New Jersey commercial property owners to both reduce energy costs and protect the environment.

In fact, the latest statistics show that a new system is installed in the United States approximately every four minutes.

Unfortunately, roof-mounted solar panels can pose dangerous risks for emergency responders in the event of a fire. In response, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently signed Assembly Bill A-266 (S-507) into law.

The law was precipitated by a September 2013 warehouse fire in Delanco that resulted in a total loss, in part because firefighters could not fight the fire from above due to the electrocution risk posed by thousands of solar panels mounted to the roof of the building. The danger is that panels continue to transmit electrical current even after power in the building is turned off.

The new law imposes several new requirements on property owners, which are designed to give firefighters advance notice of rooftop solar panels. Building owners must provide a written notification to the local fire official regarding the existence of rooftop solar panels. For new installations, permit granting agencies must, within 10 days after issuance, file a copy of the permit with the local fire official serving the municipality in which the residential structure or nonresidential structure is located.

Under the new law, commercial property owners will also be required to place an identifying emblem displaying the letters “S/P” be next to the main entrance of a building if solar panels are attached to the roof. The requirement is similar to existing laws that require building owners to display the letter “F” to signify a floor with truss construction. This requirement does not apply to one or two family residential structures.

New Jersey businesses are advised to keep the new law and the associated fire risks in mind when contemplating the installation of solar panels.

If you have any questions about the new law or would like to discuss how it may impact your business, please contact me, Victor Kinon, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work. 

Commercial Property Alert: New Jersey Law Imposes Notification Requirements for Rooftop Solar Panels

Author: Victor E. Kinon

In fact, the latest statistics show that a new system is installed in the United States approximately every four minutes.

Unfortunately, roof-mounted solar panels can pose dangerous risks for emergency responders in the event of a fire. In response, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently signed Assembly Bill A-266 (S-507) into law.

The law was precipitated by a September 2013 warehouse fire in Delanco that resulted in a total loss, in part because firefighters could not fight the fire from above due to the electrocution risk posed by thousands of solar panels mounted to the roof of the building. The danger is that panels continue to transmit electrical current even after power in the building is turned off.

The new law imposes several new requirements on property owners, which are designed to give firefighters advance notice of rooftop solar panels. Building owners must provide a written notification to the local fire official regarding the existence of rooftop solar panels. For new installations, permit granting agencies must, within 10 days after issuance, file a copy of the permit with the local fire official serving the municipality in which the residential structure or nonresidential structure is located.

Under the new law, commercial property owners will also be required to place an identifying emblem displaying the letters “S/P” be next to the main entrance of a building if solar panels are attached to the roof. The requirement is similar to existing laws that require building owners to display the letter “F” to signify a floor with truss construction. This requirement does not apply to one or two family residential structures.

New Jersey businesses are advised to keep the new law and the associated fire risks in mind when contemplating the installation of solar panels.

If you have any questions about the new law or would like to discuss how it may impact your business, please contact me, Victor Kinon, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work. 

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