Essex has become a Connecticut Clean Energy Community (CCEC), and, in the process, the town has earned two 1 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for a municipal building of its choice.
Connecticut cities and towns can earn the designation under the CCEC program – a partnership between the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) and nonprofit, clean energy campaign SmartPower – by meeting three requirements: committing to purchasing 20% clean energy by the year 2010; having a threshold number of residents and small businesses sign up for the CTCleanEnergyOptions program, offered to customers of United Illuminating and Connecticut Light & Power; and making a municipal clean energy purchase.
To accelerate the process of meeting these requirements, Essex applied for and received a $5,000 block grant from CCEF that helped it raise public awareness of and support for clean energy. The town has used part of this grant to present a film series and workshops on clean energy at the town library. The block grant was provided through the fund's Community Innovations Grants program.
Meeting the CCEC requirements earned Essex one 1 kW PV system, while having 2.5% of the town's households sign up for CTCleanEnergyOptions resulted in a ‘bonus’ second system. The town is assessing a number of possible locations for the system, including the local fire station, transfer station, fire station garage and public works garage.