The Acadia Center said Thursday that while Connecticut’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased over the past five years the reforms proposed as part of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy “appear to raise significant new challenges to distributed solar deployment that put its crucial climate mitigation at real risk.”
Renewable power is of particular concern to those who champion solar power, such as the Acadia Center.
“While nationwide, forward-thinking states are looking towards smart, interconnected homes, often powered by rooftop solar, the draft CES recommendations for customer-sited solar are a major step away from that future,” Kerry Schlichting, policy advocate for the Acadia Center, said.
“The new policy package for rooftop solar outlined in the draft CES will create barriers for Connecticut residents and businesses who want to install solar, limiting their right to produce and consume their own clean energy,” she added.
The Acadia position paper stated that the draft CES recommends a cap of 20 MW (megawatts) a year through 2030 for customer-sited solar installations.
“In 2016 alone, Connecticut installed about 90 MW of customer-sited solar,” according to Schlichting. “The new cap would result in a nearly 80 percent cut in new installations in 2021 compared to 2016.”
The group is also advocating for a way that allows residents to bank unused kilowatt hours from their solar installations in a way that benefits all ratepayers. There’s a dispute over how much value to give the solar kilowatt.
The report estimates the value of a solar kilowatt hour at 15 cents, but doesn’t, according to Schlichting, go into detail about how it arrived at that number.
“There’s a risk that the draft CES, if enacted, would cut the legs out from under solar PV deployment in our state – effectively preventing consumers from having the choice of rooftop solar. To meet our climate targets and continue to grow the state’s clean energy economy, we need policies that enable even more customer-sited solar, not restrict it.” Schlichting said.
Dennis Schain, a spokesman for the DEEP, said the draft report “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.”
He said the report is open for comment and that includes comments from the Acadia Center.
In its position paper, Acadia Center said it has four high priority concerns regarding distributed solar, stating each concern must be resolved in the final CES for it to be satisfied.
Those concerns are: continue the expansion of new distributed solar capacity; improve, but do not end, net metering; properly account for all ratepayer benefits from distributed solar; and, seriously commit to a full statewide community solar solar program.
“Connecticut should be heading down a path towards consumer choice and ambitious goals, not new arbitrary limits,” Schlichting said.
Read the full article from CT News Junkie here.