At the end of 2011, Connecticut had installed about 22 MW of solar capacity- enough to power more than 3,500 homes. This is a good start, but with the highest retail electricity rates of the lower 48 states and plenty of sun, Connecticut has room for continued solar growth.
In 2011, with Vote Solar’s support, the state passed an energy bill (Public Act 11-80) that included a number of policy mechanisms to promote solar development. We are now working with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), and Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) to successfully implement the programs outlined in the bill and envision new solutions to keep Connecticut on the leading edge. We want to see steady, sustainable growth for Connecticut’s solar industry, and simple, affordable access to solar energy for all Connecticut residents and businesses. To receive action alerts when we need your help weighing in on these issues click here.
Programs to watch in CT include:
Zero-Emissions Renewable Energy Credit (ZREC) Program – Designed to result in at least 20-30MW of clean energy projects per year, this program provides a minimum of $8M per year for competitive procurement of projects up to 1MW. The first set of contracts were announced in October 2012.
Residential Solar Investment Program – With a goal of at least 30MW of residential solar by 2022, this incentive program launched in March 2012 and hundreds of Connecticut homeowners have already been able to go solar as a result, with nearly 1MW installed as of October 2012. Despite this success, the future of the CT residential market is somewhat uncertain; the state is looking to transition to a different program structure, and has announced a new “Clean Energy Financial Innovation Program” the structure of which has yet to be defined. While we support policy innovation, we’re working to prevent stop-start interruptions to CT’s healthy residential market.
In addition to these key programs, CT has launched an exciting residential solar group purchasing program for homeowners, Solarize Connecticut, currently in a 4-town pilot phase. The program has already helped bring the average cost of residential systems down to $4.90/Watt. The state is also working to cut red tape associated with solar permitting and interconnection. And last but not least, the state is launching a Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program.
Policy Needs and Next Steps
In 2013 be working on standardizing property tax assessments for PV systems, and expanding virtual net metering opportunities for CT energy customers. Click here to get involved.
Vote Solar lead for Connecticut is Hannah Masterjohn.