Connecticut Fund for the Environment recently submitted comments to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) asking for an acceleration of the state’s pilot program for shared solar and a rapid shift to full-scale implementation.
Shared solar would allow the 80% of Connecticut residents who cannot access solar on their own (such as renters and those without south-facing roofs) to access the renewable power of the sun by purchasing clean energy from a solar generating farm.
“Connecticut must be more ambitious in our clean energy programs — particularly as our neighbors are taking major steps forward,” said Shannon Laun, climate and energy attorney at CFE. “Maryland’s new shared solar pilot is 33 times larger than Connecticut’s, with ten times more capacity earmarked for low-income consumers than our entire program. Connecticut must not be left behind in the solar revolution — we should be heading towards shared solar today, not dawdling with a pilot that doesn’t require projects to begin operating until 2021.”
Benefits of shared solar include green jobs, a growing clean energy economy, renewables to help Connecticut meet its climate goals, reduced climate emissions, improved public health, grid security, and more resilient communities. Under the current specifications for the pilot program, the minimum size of an installation would be 500 kilowatts. This is far too large and would limit siting opportunities, result in fewer projects being built, prevent the state from obtaining data on how valuable small projects can be for the grid, and create fewer opportunities for smaller, in-state solar companies to participate in the pilot. The limit of 3-12 projects in the state could serve as few as 30 customers. CFE encourages the state to instead move forward with a full-scale, statewide shared solar program with no caps on the number or size of projects as soon as possible.