As bad as the #TrumpTariffs were, the regulatory changes and attacks on the economics of distributed generation at the local level across the country are a much bigger cause for concern. Connecticut utility Eversource and its pals in the Connecticut Senate and House are following the lead of recent adopters Michigan and Maine, by voting to end net metering,.
This is a big blow to residential solar installers in the state. The playbook from Eversource here is the same you’ll see from other utilities across the country: Push for a big boost in the Renewable Portfolio Standards to tout a move to renewable energy while limiting the incentives for homeowners to add PV to their homes, thus keeping the added renewable capacity under their control (and bottom line).
The legislation passed by the Connecticut General Assembly (SB-9) expanded the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to a 40 percent mandate by 2030. But as NECEC President Peter Rothstein notes, SB-9 also included counterproductive provisions that will significantly harm the state’s rooftop solar market.
“Unless the utilities provide customers with metering and communications, and time varying rates, which will give them the information they need to match usage to production, customers will not be able to manage and reduce their energy costs by adopting solar,” he said. “Net metering, a key driver for residential and commercial solar adoption and the significant job growth that comes with a robust rooftop solar market, will essentially be dismantled. Significant work will be needed to overcome the new barriers to customer adoption of clean energy in Connecticut.”
The NECEC is urging the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA), which is charged with implementing the new solar programs, to work collaboratively with customers and the solar industry to establish cost-effective, fair solar compensation and rate structures that will enable clean energy and solar to continue to flourish in Connecticut.
And that is the more measured response you’ll see from most solar groups. Here’s another from Sunrun and the Alliance for Solar Choice:
In disregard to the concerns of rooftop solar consumers, employees and companies in Connecticut, the Legislature voted to weaken one of the most successful solar energy policies in the nation, and to allow Eversource and UI to siphon home grown energy from its customers without paying full price for it. This legislation discards a tried and true method of combating climate change: the power of Connecticut’s people to generate solar power on their rooftops. As we learned from other states like Nevada that hastily restricted customer access to solar, thousands of jobs are now at risk in Connecticut. Going forward, we will continue to work with legislative and regulatory leaders to preserve consumer choice, the right to self-generation and Connecticut’s 2,200 local solar jobs.
— Solar Builder magazine