A 2018 Connecticut law that was designed to end net metering in the state was reversed before it had a chance to take effect, according to an update from SolarConnecticut.
On Tuesday night, the State Senate voted 32-1 to rescind a 2018 law, S.B.9, that called for sunsetting net metering this fall. The new bill would delay action on net metering until after 2021.
“The law that killed net metering here a year ago was on shaky ground from the start,” says Mike Trahan, executive director of SolarConnecticut, which worked closely with businesses and environmental and citizens groups to convince lawmakers to pause the net metering change. “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.”
Trahan, who served on Gov. Ned Lamont’s energy policy transition team, expects Lamont to sign the new bill, H.B.5002, into law. H.B.5002 was previously approved by the State House.
“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 explains. “We got both, and more. We’re going to come out of this stronger than we were before.”
In addition to the net metering reversal, H.B.5002 also extends the commercial solar ZREC program into 2021, which annually awards 15-year contracts to developers of commercial solar projects. In addition, incentives to install an additional 50 MW of home solar are added to the Residential Solar Investment Program, offered through the Connecticut Green Bank. Lastly, state regulators will be required to study the value of distributed energy resources and take the findings into account when they determine any potential departures from net metering.
Stephen Lassiter, Sunrun’s public policy manager, adds, “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.”