Connecticut is considering a visionary bill that will greatly expand access to solar energy throughout the state.

HB 5412 allows for billing arrangements to support groups of residents to band together to create and utilize a single renewable energy system for a group of households or businesses. It is under consideration right now by the Energy and Technology Committee. Because many households in Connecticut are unsuited for solar due to their orientation, shading or structural issues, this bill could double solar access at a time when the market, interest and opportunities are taking off.

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Shared renewable energy includes a solar installation serving an urban neighborhood by subscription; a small wind turbine benefiting a cluster of rural homes; or a hydro dam serving several adjacent businesses in a revitalized mill town. These systems are more cost-effective than smaller, individual installations. And they close a critical fairness gap by making the benefits of clean energy equally available to everyone — owners and renters alike — whether or not their roof faces south.

By passing this bill, Connecticut would join recognized clean energy leaders like Colorado, California and Massachusetts. The state would be advancing its commitment to clean energy jobs and business opportunities in a significant way.

Already, Solarize CT — a public/private partnership to help Connecticut towns and their residents go solar — has established the state as a vibrant labor market for the solar industry. Allowing for shared renewables will expand that opportunity, retain and grow those businesses, and make Connecticut even more of a leader in the clean energy economy.

Melissa Everett, Ph.D., chairs the Enfield Clean Energy Committee. She is author of “Making a Living While Making a Difference: Conscious Careers for an Era of Interdependence.”

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