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State Senator

Andrew Maynard

Deputy Majority Leader

Representing Griswold, Groton, North Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Sterling, Stonington & Voluntown

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Contact: Andrew Ammirati
860-240-8671

August 11, 2011

Maynard: Though Solar Programs are Changing, Panels Remain a Good Buy

Homeowners can save big with solar, on top of recent 5 percent electric bill reduction for all households

Preston—Today Senator Andrew Maynard (D-Stonington) explained a number of upcoming changes in state programs to assist Connecticut residents with the purchase and installation of photovoltaic solar panels on their homes and property. The technology is rapidly becoming more affordable.

“Solar energy is a clean, efficient, and now affordable way to supply electricity to your home,” said Senator Maynard. “The cost of home solar panels continues to fall, and with state assistance, those who make the investment can expect to see an immediate savings in their monthly budget—even accounting for the cost of the panels.”

Senator Maynard continued, “There are some changes coming in our state residential solar programs. One expires this month, and another will begin early next year. Visit www.ctcleanenergy.com or call 860-563-0015 for more information on these changing programs and how you can get a solar panel system of your own.”

On August 15th, the final deadline for the state’s solar lease program will pass, all funds for the program having been spent. Homeowners in the market for solar panels or close to making a purchase should get their final applications in soon.

For those just considering a home solar system, help is still available. The state runs a rebate program that helps reduce the typical payback period on a financed installation to 8-12 years, covering about 20 percent of the total cost. A 30 percent federal tax credit is also available. Solar panel installers can provide specific figures for a particular installation.

Beginning in February of next year, state officials expect to have a new residential solar program up and running, as authorized by Senate Bill 1243, passed earlier this year. The program awaits appointment of a new board for the Clean Energy & Investment Authority (CEFIA), the successor agency to the Clean Energy Fund. The new residential solar program will:

  • Provide up to $10 million/year directly to homeowners for purchase or lease of photovoltaic systems, through CEFIA
  • Offer either an up-front payment or a per kilowatt hour payment over time

Exact rates still to be determined

  1. Funded by an existing 10th of a cent/kWh charge on all electric bills
  2. Incentives increase 5 percent if the solar panels are built in CT, and a further 5 percent in distressed municipalities

Senator Maynard held a press conference at a home on Middle Road in Preston, where local resident and veteran Jim Rigney has installed 36 solar panels of 240 watts each, with the help of the solar lease program.

They were joined by Preston 3rd Selectman Tim Bowles (D) and Hervie Lamb of Mystic Solar, a local solar company. Mystic Solar has designed and installed photovoltaic and thermal solar systems in a variety of residential and commercial settings over the past four years.

“As past chair of the Clean Energy Fund, it is incredibly exciting to see this kind of solar system build right here in Preston. I really appreciate the work of companies like Mystic Solar, whose work in the green energy industry will help turn our economy around. I hope to see a new Clean Energy Research & Development Center built right here in Preston in the not too distant future,” said Selectman Bowles, a past chairman of the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund.

“Everybody needs one of these solar arrays in their backyard or on their house. The cost savings has been tremendous so far. I enjoy promoting these kind of solar systems to everyone I meet, and I know at least four other people who have already applied to get one of their own,” said homeowner Jim Rigney, a military veteran of the US Navy and the Air National Guard.

“Senator Maynard has been a champion for alternative energy and companies like ours. He helped us to get up on our feet, and his vision for the future of the energy industry is just what we need to build a thriving clean energy market and jumpstart our economy,” said Hervie Lamb, co-founder of Mystic Solar.

The enabling legislation for the new residential solar program, Senate Bill 1243, contains many other provisions to lower energy costs for Connecticut homeowners and businesses the bill will also:

  • Assist homeowners and businesses with replacement of inefficient, old boilers and furnaces to reduce heating costs in the winter
  • Empower towns to establish low-rate financing for home energy upgrades, with loans which may be repaid on property tax bills, accounts transferring with property sale (PACE program)
  • Create a competitive zero-emission generation program to support CT solar, wind, hydro initiatives, without picking winners amongst technologies

An electric surcharge was eliminated from the bills of all Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) customers in the recently-passed state budget. The average business or household will see a permanent 5 percent reduction in their electric bill, totaling approximately $113 million in savings statewide.

For more information on energy reform in Connecticut, visit: senatedems.ct.gov/Energy2011.php

 

Committees

Chair: Transportation

Vice-Chair: Environment

Member: Appropriations; Education

Press Contacts

Press Aide

Dave Steuber
860-240-8616

Mailing Address

Legislative Office Building
Room 2300
Hartford, CT 06106-1591

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