The opaque world of energy policy continued to roil state government this week as regulators fined the state’s biggest utilities.
After more than five years of arguing, final program rules for a shared solar program in Connecticut are ready for approval. And just about everyone is still arguing.
Updated at 6:25 p.m.
After a near-death experience, energy legislation that will fundamentally change how renewable energy is valued financially in Connecticut passed the state House early Wednesday morning and is now headed to the governor for his expected signature. The legislature also completed action on an environmental bill.
After years of delays, shared solar may finally be close to its first test in Connecticut. But along with some cheers from its supporters, there’s still an awful lot of complaining over how it’s being handled.
Connecticut’s shared solar pilot program has already missed its first deadline and faces even more delays. In the meantime, arguments over how to pay for clean energy are bubbling up again.
For those pursuing energy and environmental initiatives, this legislative session was already heading toward half-a-loaf results before the budget impasse erupted. In the end there were big wins, big losses and everything in between.
For the second year in a row, legislation to allow shared-solar installations to be built in Connecticut is facing a rough road. While some want to go slowly with only a couple of pilot projects, others want to plunge right in based on the models and success shared solar is having around the country. The goal for advocates is to avoid last year’s result, which was nothing.
Connecticut is starting a process to modernize the state’s electric grid to make it cleaner, leaner and more adaptable to new methods of power generation and distribution. Exploring how to do that will be a major focus for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, beginning early next year.
Legislation that would have helped residents benefit from solar electricity systems even if their homes couldn’t support a solar system is dead for this legislative session.
I hope any law that does pass [about shared solar energy] includes direction to PURA to do a study of what the true value of solar power is to society, so we can set this matter to rest.
With 80 percent of Connecticut homes unsuited for solar power, the legislature is considering the concept of shared solar.