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The U.S. Department of Energy and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center are excited to announce that a new, modernized DSIRE is under construction. The new version of DSIRE will offer significant improvements over the current version, including expanded data accessibility and an array of new tools for site users. The new DSIRE site will be available in December 2014. Staff are currently working hard on the new version of DSIRE but are also maintaining the content of the current version of DSIRE. Thank you for your continued support and patience during this transition. We hope you are as excited for December as we are!

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New Jersey

New Jersey

Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

Printable Version
Assessment of Farmland Hosting Renewable Energy Systems   

Last DSIRE Review: 10/01/2014
Program Overview:
State: New Jersey
Incentive Type: Property Tax Incentive
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Process Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Biomass, Anaerobic Digestion
Applicable Sectors: Agricultural
Eligible System Size:2 MW or less; equipment may not cover more than 10 acres
Start Date:07/01/2010
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
N.J. Stat. ยง 54:4-23.3c

In New Jersey, under the Farmland Assessment Act, farmland actively devoted to an agricultural or horticultural use is assessed at its productivity value. This practice generally results in a lower tax burden for farmland owners compared to residential or commercial land owners. In January 2010 New Jersey enacted legislation (S.B. 1538), which among other things clarifies how farmland used for biomass, solar, and wind energy generation should be treated under the Farmland Assessment Act. Ultimately, the law states that the addition of a biomass, solar, or wind energy generating system to land that was assessed and taxed as farmland during the prior tax year does not automatically preclude the land from continuing to qualify for this treatment. Instead, the law sets a series of conditions that must be met in order for the land to continue to be assessed as farmland, as follows:*

  • The land must be part operating farm for the current year and have been part of an operating farm during the preceding year.
  • The power and heat generated by the system must generally, but not exclusively, be used to serve farm energy needs.
  • A conservation plan must be filed with and approved by the conservation district.
  • For solar energy systems, the property under the panels must be used to the greatest extent practical for shade crops, pasture, or grazing.
  • The ratio land devoted to energy production to land devoted to agricultural operations may not exceed 1:5 acres (i.e., maximum 1 acre devoted to energy production for every 5 acres devoted to agricultural operations).
  • Facilities are limited in size to the lesser of 10 acres or 2 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity.
  • For biomass generation, the property owner must obtain approval from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

Income generated from the sale of heat or power generated by solar, wind, biomass facilities is not considered income for the purposes of meeting eligibility requirements for assessment, valuation, and taxation under the Farmland Assessment Act. However, there is no income requirement for land assessed according to the terms described in the law. Any qualifying generation equipment installed in pinelands remains subject to the Pinelands Protection Act.

For the purposes of this law, the definition of land used for energy production does not include land devoted to the production of biomass fuels used in a biomass energy generation facility. Biomass is defined as "an agricultural crop, crop residue, or agricultural byproduct that is cultivated, harvested, or produced on the farm, or directly obtained from a farm where it was cultivated, harvested, or produced, and which can be used to generate energy in a sustainable manner." Any farmland used for solar, wind, or biomass energy generation that does not meet the criteria defined in the law may not be assessed as land devoted to agricultural or horticultural use under the Farmland Assessment Act.


*It is also important to note that S.B. 1538 prescribes several other criteria for determining whether it is permissible to construct energy generation facilities on preserved farmland. Among these criteria are requirements that energy production facilities not interfere with farm production; be limited in size to that needed to meet no more than 110% of on-site energy needs; and not occupy more than 1% of the total area of the farm, including both preserved and non-preserved portions.

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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.