Staff reportsJune 5, 2019887
The Connecticut House on Tuesday approved an extension of the state's net metering program through Dec. 31, 2021, after a 2018 law threatened to end the solar tariff by October 2019. Omnibus Energy bill House Bill 5002 passed 146-0, after absorbing the original net metering expansion bill HB 7251.
The Connecticut House on Tuesday approved an extension of the state's net metering program through Dec. 31, 2021, after a 2018 law threatened to end the solar tariff by October 2019.
Omnibus Energy bill House Bill 5002 passed 146-0, after absorbing the original net metering expansion bill HB 7251. Renewables advocates and some lawmakers say HB 5002 doesn't go far enough in propelling clean energy forward in the state.
Green groups in Connecticut were pushing for a 100% carbon free mandate, protections on pipeline methane leaks, stronger energy efficiency programs and reducing fossil fuel reliance, but "none of that was taken into consideration," in this bill, Senior Policy Advocate and Connecticut Director at Acadia Center Amy McLean Salls told Utility Dive.
HB 5002 also extends commercial and residential solar programs in the state. It’s now on its way to the governor’s desk, who is expected to sign it.
“The law that killed net metering here a year ago was on shaky ground from the start,” said Mike Trahan, executive director of state industry business group SolarConnecticut that worked closely with regional and national solar installer businesses as well as environmental and citizens groups to convince lawmakers to pause on the net metering change approved just a year ago. “After we got state lawmakers to understand that solar penetration in Connecticut wasn’t anywhere near the level that would trigger a departure from net metering, and that solar users would not be fairly compensated for excess generation, abandoning last year’s law came quickly. It didn’t hurt either when it was exposed that electric utilities didn’t have the technical capability to make a net metering change.”
“Putting the brakes on last year’s net metering change and creating a value of solar study were the top priorities for the solar industry members on the Lamont transition team,” Trahan continued. “We got both, and more. We’re going to come out of this stronger than we were before.”
“Sunrun applauds the Connecticut House and Senate for passing House Bill 5002 and congratulates Representative Arconti and Senator Needleman for their leadership,” said Stephen Lassiter, manager of public policy at Sunrun, in a statement. “With Governor Lamont’s signature, this bipartisan legislation will provide the solar industry the certainty it needs to boost clean energy investments, grow the state’s solar workforce, and advance Connecticut’s energy goals.”
In addition to the net metering reversal, HB 5002 also extends the commercial solar ZREC program into 2021 that annually awards 15-year contracts to developers of commercial solar projects. Incentives to install an additional 50 MW of home solar were added to the Residential Solar Investment Program (RSIP) offered through the Connecticut Green Bank. And state regulators will be required to study the value of distributed energy resources and take findings into account when determining any potential departures from net metering.
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