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Solar Advocates Present Next Steps to Better Solar Legislation

Solar-power advocates say increasing distributed solar installations could create 1,960 new, long-term jobs in Connecticut. (colmkay/Pixabay)
Solar-power advocates say increasing distributed solar installations could create 1,960 new, long-term jobs in Connecticut. (colmkay/Pixabay)
January 18, 2019

HARTFORD, Conn. – Solar-energy advocates will meet with state legislators next week to discuss the unintended consequences of an energy bill passed last year, and suggest ways to fix it.

On Tuesday, advocates and solar industry representatives will meet at the State Capitol to explain to lawmakers how changes to the net metering standard contained in Senate Bill 9 will lower the value of electricity produced by solar panels installed on homes.

According to Amy McLean Salls, senior policy advocate and Connecticut director of the Acadia Center, while SB 9 has many benefits, it could have a disastrous impact on the residential solar industry.

"Instead of the customers and the solar industry thriving, they are going to be losing ground, possibly putting the smaller, residential rooftop solar companies out of business," says McLean Salls.

She adds that experience in other states shows that, done properly, solar installations can increase in-state economic activity.

McLean Salls says increasing distributed solar installations in Connecticut to about 160 Megawatts annually would create almost 2,000 new long-term jobs and boost the state's economy.

"It would increase personal income of at least $216 million, about $15.6 million annually in new tax revenue," says McLean Salls. “Not to mention that you're reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which is another goal of the State of Connecticut."

Last month, the Acadia Center sent a memo to newly elected Governor Ned Lamont outlining the potential benefits of increased distributed solar in Connecticut.

McLean Salls notes that this year, there are 41 new legislators in the General Assembly, all of whom can be educated about the issues created by SB 9 and might be open to making changes.

"If we are able to make the case to the legislators, everybody benefits," says McLean Salls. “This is a win-win for Connecticut."

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT