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 it’s 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)