Earlier this year, Connecticut state legislators Rep. Vickie Nardello and Sen. John Fonfara introduced an energy reform bill that was posed to change the Connecticut renewable landscape and establish a market for Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). Solar enthusiasts celebrated the potential of ‘Bill 493 – An Act Reducing Electricity Costs and Promoting Renewable Energy’ to reduce consumer electricity rates, create green jobs, and reduce CO2 emissions. It was passed in both the House and Senate, but was ultimately vetoed by Governor Jodi Rell when it reached her desk. The governor expressed her support of the intent behind the bill, but concluded that the proposed legislation would in fact increase electricity costs, estimating a $1.4 billion price tag for the bill that would be footed by Connecticut taxpayers.
The status of solar energy financing in Connecticut remains at a standstill with no SREC market in 2010 and limited state rebates. The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, which provides residential system owners with a state rebate of up to $15,000, has reopened but will soon be fully subscribed. As a result, it is possible that many installers and developers will move into states with solar-friendly legislation including Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Ohio. However, there is still hope for renewable energy and green jobs on the horizon. Dan Malloy, a potential Democratic candidate for Governor, has publicly stated that he would have signed the bill if it had been his decision. The election will take place on November 2nd and if he is chosen to serve the highest office in the Nutmeg State he may be able to reverse Gov. Rell’s decision and forge ahead with a Connecticut SREC market.