This past April, House Bill 7251 was introduced as an answer to the drastic cuts that SB-9 had in store for Connecticut’s solar industry.
The provisions of this new bill would delay the end to Connecticut’s current net metering policy until December 31, 2021. This would allow time for studies to be performed on the economic value of solar deployment in the state, and would give our legislation time to use that data to ensure a smooth transition into a new program.
HB 7251 would also add 50 MW to the Residential Solar Investment Program from the Green Bank, and continue the commercial ZREC (Zero Emissions Renewable Energy Credit) program for an additional two years. The ZREC program has been a huge benefit for businesses going solar, paying them a fixed price for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of solar electricity generated on top of the savings on their electric bill.
Before completely doing away with major benefits of solar in Connecticut, our legislators need to determine how to transition to a long-term, sustainable plan that replaces net metering. In order to catch up to the solar adoption rates of our neighboring states, we also need to ensure that system owners are compensated fairly for the energy that they produce from their systems. This is crucial in maintaining growth for Connecticut’s solar industry.
The Connecticut Fund for the Environment issued a letter to Governor Lamont in late April, applauding his statements from his campaign referring to environmental protection. “However, we are concerned by recent indications that agency leadership in your administration, such as the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, is pushing far more conservative approaches that do not reflect the need for urgent climate action,” they stated. “Without these important initiatives, not only will we lose existing jobs, Connecticut’s green economy will slow and we will not meet the state’s 2020 and 2030 greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets.”
In short, HB 7251 provides great reform for the decisions made my our legislature with SB-9. Be sure to contact your representatives, and sign the Sierra Club’s petition for pro-solar policies. Policy reform means everything for the solar industry in Connecticut, and environmental justice as a whole. Get active and support HB 7251!