By Grace Brown, Research and Policy Specialist at RGS Energy
In the wee hours of the morning on May 9th, the Connecticut House voted to approve Senate Bill 9 (SB 9), which passed the Senate earlier that week. The bill is now on the Governor’s desk, and he is expected to sign it since it was introduced by his office. SB 9 increases the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 40% by 2030, but it also contains a provision that will effectively end net metering for distributed generation (rooftop) solar systems. While we applaud moves to increase adoption of renewable energy technologies, we’re baffled that this also came with such a blow to distributed solar, which just so happens to be immune to the siting challenges that larger-scale solar projects can face, especially in densely populated areas with limited amounts of open land, like Connecticut.
How will that work?
We don’t know, exactly. SB 9 provides two options for distributed solar, with the specifics to be worked out later. Homeowners can either:
(1) Enter into a buy-all, sell-all arrangement with two separate meters and no option for on-site power consumption. Rates for the power homeowners sell to their utilities will be lower than the retail rate they pay for the power they consume.
(2) Consume their own on-site power generation at home and get paid only for the excess generation they send to the utility grid. This means any electricity a homeowner doesn’t use in “real time” will be credited at a rate that will be determined by Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.
Neither of these options will credit homeowners at the rate they pay their utility company for their power, like net metering does. Instead, it will treat individuals more like large power companies than like people who want to produce their own clean power for their own homes.
What this means for you.
For all the optimists out there, there is a bit of good news.
Current net metering rate structures will remain valid until regulators set a new one, or until Connecticut’s existing solar rebate program is fully subscribed (whichever comes first). We expect rebate funds will be exhausted in about a year or so, but that depends on how many people decide to go solar between now and then. Homes that interconnect their solar systems under the current net metering tariff will be “grandfathered in”, so their net metering benefits will be guaranteed through 2039.
That means there’s still time to Own Your Power™, while rooftop solar owners can still earn fair rates for the clean energy they produce. Contact us at 888.56.SOLAR or click the button below to learn what solar can do for you!