The legislature in Connecticut passed SB 9, “An Act Concerning Connecticut’s Energy Future,” a controversial bill brought forward by Gov. Dannel Malloy (D). While the bill will expand the state’s renewable energy portfolio to 40 percent by 2030, it will also end net metering, which the solar industry staunchly opposes.
The legislation would actually replace the state’s net-metering with a tariff-based reimbursement system. Those who are already net-metered in the state and those installed home solar before Dec. 31, 2018 will be net-metered through 2039.
After that the state will establish new tariffs for residential solar installations. Malloy’s office said the bill will “revise net-metering so Connecticut pays a more affordable rate per kilowatt-hour basis.”
The solar industry is concerned about the bill. ”While we are in favor of legislation that genuinely advances solar energy, we have concerns about this bill. We support stronger renewable portfolio standards, yet it is not clear to what extent the bill would open significant large-scale or community solar markets. And importantly, any approach that doesn't also protect customer choice and provide for reasonable compensation for the value of customer-generated electricity is not acceptable,” Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
“This bill is sadly misguided. Connecticut pays some of the highest electricity costs in the nation, and rooftop solar investment provides a much needed opportunity for families and businesses to manage those bills while lowering the overall cost of the utility system for everyone—and helping us fight climate change as well,” contended Vote Solar Senior Northeast Director Sean Garren.
The Governor’s office maintained the bill will benefit the state’s residents expanding renewables to 40 percent and creating successor programs for businesses and residents. The successor programs will replace its expiring Low-Emission Renewable Energy Credits, Zero-Emission Renewable Energy Credits, and Solar Home Renewable Credits. It also said the bill creates a shared clean energy program for low and moderate income customers.
“This is a good and important piece of legislation,” Malloy said. “The House of Representatives, along with their colleagues in the Senate, took real steps toward reducing our overall emissions and creating good jobs in the green economy, all while decreasing costs for ratepayers. I want to thank the co-chairs of the Energy Committee for their steadfast advocacy.”
Still, the solar industry remains skeptical. “There is no question that SB 9 will have a significant negative impact on Connecticut. Experience in others states like Nevada that have made similar anti-solar moves proves that this bill will put local investment and good jobs at risk. The bill has already faced massive public outcry from Connecticut energy customers who overwhelmingly want solar options, with 14,000 petitions delivered to the Legislature asking to open up access to solar rather than restricting customer choice,” Garren added.
"As other states in New England and across the United States have shown, strong rooftop solar policies, paired with real opportunity for utility scale and community solar projects, creates jobs, stimulates economic growth, and gives consumers ways to save money,” Gallagher said.Tweet