Thursday, January 24, 2019

Connecticut Energy Bill Draws Mixed Reviews

Connecticut’s General Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill that doubles the amount of renewable energy utilities must use to serve load — 40% by 2030 — while also revoking net metering guarantees that ensure rooftop solar owners earn retail prices for their excess electricity.

The bill now goes to Gov. Dannel Malloy, who said the legislation (SB 9) will help cut emissions and create “good jobs in the green economy, all while decreasing costs for ratepayers.”

rooftop solar connecticut net metering

Connecticut state capitol building in Hartford

The bill also extends $8 million in renewable incentives for commercial users and allows them to sell their output to utilities in 15-year contracts. The new law creates a 25-MW community solar program for residential customers who cannot afford to install their own solar panels.

Peter Rothstein, president of the Northeast Clean Energy Council, said in a statement that while the bill “contains a robust expansion of the state’s renewable portfolio standard,” it also includes “counterproductive provisions that will significantly harm the state’s rooftop solar market.”

Net metering “will essentially be dismantled,” Rothstein said.

rooftop solar connecticut net metering

A coalition of solar developers, solar proponents and environmental groups, including SunRun, Vote Solar and the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, had also urged state lawmakers not to pass the law without amending its net metering language.

“Instead of restricting customers’ ability to choose solar and imposing a cap on solar investment, the bill’s community solar program should be strengthened to expand solar access,” the coalition said. “Rather than building Connecticut’s local clean energy economy, the current bill language puts the future of solar in Connecticut and thousands of jobs at risk.”

— Michael Kuser