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Report: Shared Solar Equals Jobs, Revenue for CT

A new report says 200 megawatts of shared solar projects would create 2,580 jobs in Connecticut. (Vote Solar)
A new report says 200 megawatts of shared solar projects would create 2,580 jobs in Connecticut. (Vote Solar)
June 27, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. – Investing in community solar could bring thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in wages, investments and tax revenues to Connecticut, according to a recent report.

The report, from the group Vote Solar, says a statewide program creating 200 megawatts of shared solar power would be very doable.

Sean Garren, the group’s Northeast director, says that would create more than 2,500 new jobs, paying $192 million in wages, and generate more than $370 million in local economic benefits.

"At a time when Connecticut is facing serious budget problems and could use that kind of economic support, this would be a really smart move for the state," he states.

Two years ago, the state legislature approved a Shared Solar pilot project, but it was capped at six megawatts of power per project, and so far no contracts have been awarded.

Some communities oppose large-scale solar installations, saying they cover open fields and farmlands with solar panels. But Garren points out that farmers in the state are struggling and some are turning to solar as a way to survive.

"By putting solar on a small amount of their land, they might actually be able to underwrite the rest of their farm and continue to grow crops in Connecticut," he states.

Garren says it's important to continue developing rooftop solar as well as exploring other locations for solar projects such as brownfields and landfills.

"We have some big goals in terms of getting off of fossil fuels and moving to clean, renewable energy, and we should be looking at putting solar in every possible place that it makes sense," he says.

The report's economic analysis is based on adoption of enabling legislation this year, with project construction beginning in 2018.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT