Connecticut, the Nutmeg State, has long been a seaport and is among the wealthiest states in terms of income per capita. It’s also one of the smallest states in the nation, in fact, only Hawaii and Rhode Island are smaller. Despite its geographic size it packs a punch with 3.5 million residents, it’s among the top 30 in terms of population and the fourth most densely populated state. Not bad for the third smallest state. With the high population density and limited space, Connecticut’s an ideal location for distributed generation as opposed to utility-scale solar. As such, the state offers some big incentives to residents and business owners who choose to install solar or other renewables, like wind.
In Connecticut solar incentives or subsidies to home- and business owners are offered through utilities and some are offered by the state itself. Such incentives include rebates, tax incentives and others that help reduce the up-front cost of solar for potential buyers. In addition to the state incentives listed here, Connecticut residents should check with their local utility or installers about solar incentive programs and any changes made to them. However, some of the state’s programs are being changed, for instance, the popular CT Solar Lease program, which allowed homeowners access to a state-sponsored solar lease with no up-front payment, stopped taking applications in 2011.
About half of Connecticut gets an average of slightly less than 4.5 hours of direct sunlight per square meter on a daily basis, with the rest getting up to 4.35 hours of direct sunlight per square meter on a daily basis—slightly more than New York State gets on average. While nothing like the sun that hits Arizona or other southwestern states, it’s still more than most of Germany gets, and more than enough to justify solar. The state also is rich in other resources, particularly wind along the southern-facing, Atlantic coast, which also has the potential for offshore tidal generation.
Currently the Connecticut’s electric supply comes from two dominant forms of energy production, natural gas and nuclear. While the state’s utilities offer incentives for solar and wind, the programs are filling up fast, so it’s a good idea to check what current incentives are available and at what level.
Despite its size, location and lower levels of direct sunlight than some other states, the state was in the top ten in terms of solar capacity generation as recently as 2008. That’s largely because the state has numerous incentives to help residents buy and install solar on their homes.
The state’s laws and regulations are encouraging more renewables, too. For instance, the state’s renewable portfolio standard requires that 27 percent of electricity comes from renewable sources by 2020. Of that, 20 percent must come from “Class I” renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, tidal and other technologies.
(Last updated October 2012)
Sales Tax Incentive
Solar water heat, solar space heat, photovoltaics, geothermal heat pumps and direct use, other distributed generation technologies, and associated equipment
|Official Web Site|
Under Connecticut’s tax code, certain renewable energy equipment, like solar and geothermal equipment is exempt from sales and use tax. The code also covers passive and active solar water-heating systems, passive and active solar space-heating systems, and solar-electric systems. To qualify for the exemption, purchasers must complete the department’s CERT-140 form. The form must be filled out by the seller at time of purchase. The form can be obtained online, although installers and sellers are likely to have copies available.
Customer-owned: For the first 5 kilowatts, $2.275 per watt. For the next 5 kW, up to and including 10 kW, $1.075 per watt. Maximum of $16,750.
Third-party-owned through a lease or power-purchase agreement, $0.30 per kW hour for six years
An energy assessment must be completed as step one, and must be installed by a CEFIA Approved Contractor.
Homeowner must use a CEFIA Approved Contractor to qualify for a rebate.
|Official Web Site|
This is currently in its second step. There will be a third step incentive, which will be announced January 15, 2013 or when 2.2 MW of installed capacity is reached.
Connecticut’s Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) introduced its new solar photovoltaics residential investment program in March 2012. The program aims to support a total of 30 megawatts of residential solar photovoltaics. The state allocated $40 million to the program. It is limited to customers of the state’s investor-owned utilities, Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating.
Both customer-purchased systems and systems owned by third parties under power-purchase agreements and solar leases can qualify for the rebates. Purchasers can qualify for a rebate of $2.275 per watt for system up to 5 kilowatts in size. Systems up to 10 kilowatts in size qualify for a $1.075 per watt rebate. Larger systems can qualify, but the rebate only applies to the first 10 kilowatts.
Customers who get a system through a third-party qualify for a performance-based incentive of 30 cents per kilowatt hour, which is paid to the third-party based on actual system performance over the first six years of the system’s production. The third-party owner uses the incentive to reduce the cost of the system.
Either way the system must be installed by a CEFIA-approved installer and have a CEFIA Performance Data Provider approved monitoring system. Customers must also first have a home energy audit then select a contractor from a CEFIA approved list. The contractor completes all paperwork and application materials online.
|Program Type||Net Metering|
Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Fuel Cells, Municipal Solid Waste, Small Hydroelectric, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Ocean Thermal, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
Net excess generation (NEG) credited forward on customer’s next energy bill at retail rate. Customers are reimbursed at wholesale rate of avoidance cost.
|Required Documentation||Interconnection Agreement|
|Official Web Site||http://programs.dsireusa.org/system/program/detail/277|
Connecticut Light and Power Company and United Illuminating Co., the state’s investor-owned utilities, are required to net-meter customers with "Class I" renewable-energy resources, which include solar, wind, landfill gas, fuel cells, sustainable biomass, ocean-thermal power, wave or tidal power, low-emission advanced renewable-energy conversion technologies, and hydropower facilities up to 2 megawatts in capacity. Under the state regulations customer-generator’s net excess generation (NEG)—any electricity produced in excess of what is used at the site—during a monthly billing period is carried forward as kilowatt-hour (kWh) credits for one year. On March 31 of each year the utility reimburses the customer generators for any overall NEG at the avoided cost of wholesale power.
The state also now allows municipal customer to virtual net meter. Which allows municipalities to generate power via Class 1 renewables at a municipal host site. The generation may serve the electricity needs of the municipal host customer and up to 5 additional beneficial accounts.
Local Rebate Program
Property Tax Incentive
Sales Tax Incentive
State Grant Program
State Loan Program
State Rebate Program
Utility Loan Program
Utility Rebate Program
Rules, Regulations & Policies
Appliance/Equipment Efficiency Standards
Building Energy Code
Energy Efficiency Resource Standard
Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Green Power Purchasing
Public Benefits Fund
Renewables Portfolio Standard
Solar/Wind Contractor Licensing
Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Related Programs & Initiatives
The U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) provides information, data and tools to help fleets and other transportation decision-makers find ways to reduce petroleum consumption through the use of alternative and renewable fuels, advanced vehicles, and other fuel-saving measures.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Green Power Network provides news and information on green power markets and activities, including opportunities to buy green power. This site provides state-by-state information on green power marketing and utility green power programs. In addition, the site lists marketers of renewable energy credits (RECs), also known as green tags or renewable energy certificates, which represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) enables low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy-efficient. Through this program, weatherization service providers install energy-efficiency measures in the homes of qualifying homeowners free of charge. The WAP program web site offers a state-by-state map of opportunities, projects and activities.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America site provides state-by-state information on wind projects and activities, including wind working groups, validated wind maps, anemometer loan programs, small wind guides, state-specific news, wind for schools, workshops and web casts.
Source: DSIRE (Updated October 2012).