The nonprofit Acadia Center says it’s concerned about a possible decline in the growth of customer-sited solar installations.
In a report, Acadia, which advocates for clean energy and consumers, said the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy, a draft of which was released last week, calls for an “arbitrary limit” on the growth of Connecticut’s in-state market for distributed solar.
“Distributed” means the electricity is generated near where it’s used. The most common type of distributed solar is on rooftops.
Although DEEP is pushing for an overall expansion of renewable energy in the state, Acadia said provisions laid out in the draft CES would lead to a nearly 80 percent decline in distributed solar installations in 2021 compared to 2016.
If policymakers move ahead with the draft recommendations, there would be capacity for 20 megawatts of distributed solar per year. That would compare to approximately 90 megawatts installed in 2016.
DEEP is accepting public comments on the more than 200-page draft until Sept. 25.
Asked about Acadia’s concerns, the agency responded Thursday:
“The draft 2017 CES presents DEEP’s best thinking about how to meet the goal of deploying the maximum amount of clean energy resources to reduce carbon emissions in the most cost effective manner for ratepayers. We are now accepting comment on the draft CES and we will carefully review all responses – including those offered by the Acadia Center – to produce the strongest and most effective final strategy possible.”
DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee said last week that the agency wants to rely on larger grid-side renewables, such as solar and wind farms, which DEEP says are more cost-effective than distributed generation.
However, the agency also acknowledged that rooftop solar has “non-price advantages” for the state, such as reducing peak demand and helping large energy users reduce their bills.
Read the full article from the Hartford Business Journal here.