Connecticut energy future bill, Shelton’s green energy

Campaigning in Shelton last year I saw numerous houses with rooftop solar panels. Many of them were made possible by the Connecticut Green Bank. These homeowners likely noticed the state passed Senate Bill 9 that changes net metering, how credits are earned for excess energy produced by home solar panels. But it also makes changes to the Green Bank and sets a framework for community shared solar projects. These overlooked aspects of the bill deserve attention as well.

Connecticut’s pioneering first-in-the-nation Green Bank is a private/public partnership that has funded nearly $1.2 billion of green energy investments generating over 250 Megawatts for more than 26,000 families and businesses while creating 14,000 jobs. The 2016 Green Bank financial report showed private investments of nearly $6 for every $1 of public funding. It’s an amazing success that earned Harvard’s 2017 Innovations in American Government Award from The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. But past state budgets swept Green Bank money into the general fund to the plug shortfalls. The energy bill aims to stop those sweeps and make the bank self-sufficient by 2025.

Another part of the energy bill is shared-solar which allows residents lacking the ability to install solar panels on their property to subscribe a larger solar project. Shelton has many residents living in condos and apartment buildings and shared-solar would allow them to reduce their energy costs and vote with their wallets for a green energy future.

We can lament the loss of net-metering or we can celebrate the success of the Connecticut Green Bank and the promising green energy future the passage of shared-solar can bring to Shelton. I urge Shelton to adopt the second, brighter, mindset.

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