Community solar is a major opportunity to empower Connecticut’s low-income customers
New Haven, CT. – Today, local clean energy and housing advocates joined state lawmakers in a public event highlighting the benefits of shared solar and other low-income solar programs for customers and communities. The recently updated Low-Income Solar Access Guide was also released with a Connecticut specific fact sheet, which includes program and policy developments over the last year that better serve low-income customers.
“The clean energy economy is soaring nationwide, and neighboring states like Massachusetts and New York are expanding solar access to all of their communities – and reaping wealthier and healthier communities as a result,” said Melanie Santiago-Mosier, Low-Income Program Director at Vote Solar. “Now, it’s Connecticut’s turn to harvest those benefits, and community solar is how we do that. We’re asking lawmakers to bring clean energy choices, lower utility bills, and cleaner air to everyone in Connecticut through community solar.”
A well-designed community solar program, which doesn’t yet exist in Connecticut, would unlock lower customer utility bills, greater control over energy choices, and serve to support a local clean energy economy. Two years ago the legislature authorized a pilot program for community solar, but the pilot has been delayed several times and has still not moved forward, while neighboring states have made significant gains and opened up statewide programs in that time. Community and rooftop solar also promote a healthier environment by reducing the need for generating power from fossil fuel plants.
“Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven isn’t just about rehabbing houses and making them energy efficient; it isn’t just about the folks who buy our houses; it is about the neighborhoods we serve, and everyone in them,” said Kathy Fay, Deputy Director of Design and Construction. “Everyone, regardless of income, pays a portion of their electric bill into a fund that helps to bring solar to local communities. Community shared solar in Connecticut will make it possible for everyone to take advantage of the solar opportunity, regardless of whether it’s on their roof or around the corner.”
“Shared solar is a way to make the technology of clean renewable energy available to many, if not all, of Connecticut residents,” said Paula Panzarella, speaking for the New Haven Energy Task Force. “Clean renewable energy is a concern of everyone. Especially in the inner-cities, we are already living with an overload of pollutants, asthma and automobile exhaust. Shared clean energy facilities would allow city-dwelling and low-wage earners to have access to clean energy. Everyone pays into the funds to support the clean energy programs, and shared solar allows everyone to reap the benefits.”
“The Green Bank is working to ensure that all Connecticut residents and businesses have equitable access to energy savings through our programs, strategic partnerships and outreach,” said Madeline Priest of the Connecticut Green Bank. “We are pleased to support the state’s shared clean energy program with financing availability to community solar developers. Solar is affordable, and Connecticut businesses and residents can be excited for the opportunity to save money by saving energy.”