Business Report: Bill to promote solar power awaits Murphy’s signature

Wind power, another Murphy administration priority, will benefit from a new state-aided workplace training program

Among the bills now sitting on Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk is one that would promote solar power in the state. But, not everyone is satisfied with the legislation. The bill would encourage the building of large solar grids, which generate electricity at a lower cost than other solar projects like solar panels on people’s homes. Supporters say it’s the large projects that will help New Jersey meet its clean-energy goals but that this legislation comes at a price.

The development of wind power is another priority for the Murphy administration and there’s a plan in place to get workers trained for new jobs in the offshore wind energy. The state is awarding $3 million to Atlantic Cape Community College, which will develop a workplace training program for those jobs. The college aims to have a certified training program and facility up and running by the end of next year.

The long holiday weekend was good for many businesses but thousands of restaurants continue to struggle. One lobbying group is pushing hard for more federal funding to help the industry, especially now that the Small Business Administration has closed the $28 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund program. According to the Independent Restaurant Coalition, over 265,000 small businesses still need financial help and are on the brink of permanent closure. The SBA’s restaurant program provided grants for 101,000 restaurants, or about one-third of the eligible applicants before running out of funding. A bipartisan bill has been introduced in Congress to provide more federal aid to restaurants.

While that federal program has run dry, Gov. Murphy recently signed legislation to provide more grants to restaurants. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is taking applications through mid-July for the Sustain and Serve program, which allows nonprofits to buy meals in bulk for New Jersey residents.

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