By a vote of 139 to 8, Connecticut's House of Representatives has approved S.B.1243, a comprehensive energy bill that contains numerous policy mechanisms to promote solar energy deployment in the state.
The House's vote follows unanimous Senate approval, and the bill will now be sent to the office of Gov. Dannel Malloy, D-Conn., who is expected to sign it into law.
The bill requires the state's Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority to implement a residential PV program that results in 30 MW of new PV capacity installed in the state by Dec. 31, 2022.
The authority must also offer ‘direct financial incentives for the purchase or lease of qualifying residential PV systems,’ according to the bill's text. PV installations that utilize components made in Connecticut and in distressed municipalities are eligible for increased incentives.
The legislation also establishes a renewable energy credit (REC) program. Each electric company must propose a six-year solar REC solicitation plan by Jan. 1, 2012. The production of each megawatt-hour of electricity from a solar energy source placed in service on or after July 1, 2011, will equal one REC.
In addition, S.B.1243 bolsters the state's net-metering provisions. Although current law requires that electric utilities provide equipment and billing for net metering, the new legislation ‘requires electric companies to provide their municipal customers with virtual net metering and make any needed interconnections, including installing metering equipment, for customers who need it.’
Specifications are included to describe how the metering equipment must operate and how the electric companies must bill participants.
Municipalities will also now be permitted to create property assessed clean energy (PACE) programs. (All PACE programs currently face challenges stemming from objections voiced by the Federal Housing Finance Authority.)
Finally, the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority will be required to ‘identify barriers to developing a permanent Connecticut-based solar workforce and provide for comprehensive training, accreditation, and certification programs through institutions and individuals accredited and certified to national standards.’
‘This legislation has multiple benefits for policymakers and for ratepayers – positioning us to bring down the high cost of energy, as well as bolstering job growth and innovation in our renewable energy sector,’ Malloy said in a statement.