Solar Project Commercial Funding- Part 3- ZREC

Solar is a great way to save money on your electric bill, and it’s not just for residences. Commercial properties can take advantage of solar. While it’s a much bigger investment than going solar on your home, there are more funding programs available depending on your building and business. In this blog series, we will cover a different commercial funding program each week.

The Connecticut Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS, from ) requires that electricity providers (Connecticut Electric Suppliers and Electric Distribution Company Wholesale Suppliers) obtain a minimum percentage of their retail load by using renewable energy (Class I, II and II). Solar power is considered a Class I renewable energy source.

Solar projects can be submitted in a competitive solicitation process or Request For Proposal (RFP), by the electric utilities (Eversource and U.I.) to obtain a 15-year revenue stream from the sale of RECs (Renewable Energy Credits) to the utilities. There are three separate tiers for competitive solicitations: LREC (Low Emission Renewable Energy Credits), Medium ZREC and Large ZREC. The Medium ZREC tier includes all zero emission renewable energy projects between 100 kW and 250 kW and the Large ZREC tier will include all qualified projects between 250 kW and 1 MW in size.

For projects in their respective service territories each utility will independently and separately evaluate and select the bids in response to the RFP. Valid bid proposals will be ranked from lowest to highest price per REC. Contracts will be awarded to the lowest price per REC proposals first and will continue until the required annual expenditure amount is met. For evaluation purposes only, the utilities will discount bids by 10 percent for projects with technologies manufactured, researched, or developed in Connecticut.

Small ZREC projects (less than or equal to 100 kW) are selected through a tariff-based procurement approach. The 15-year contracts for Small ZREC projects are administered through a tariff rider in the form of a service agreement that is available on an ongoing, first-come, first-served basis, subject to available funding. Small ZREC projects are subject to the same project eligibility criteria as the Medium and Large ZREC projects. The contract price for Small ZREC projects is based on the average price of awarded bids for Medium ZREC projects plus 10 percent. Once the Small ZREC price is established for a given RFP period, a two week application window will be opened, and ZREC contracts will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis. If the ZREC funding is exceeded due to the number of applicants, projects will then be selected at random until the funding limit is reached. Once a service agreement is executed, the ZREC tariff price will remain constant over the 15-year term.

For the 2015 program summary by Eversource, click here.

For the 2015 program summary by United Illuminating, follow click here.

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