The Connecticut Clean Energy Finance Authority has joined a New England effort to reduce the cost of installing solar electric systems.
The New England Solar Cost-Reduction Partnership – which includes every New England state but Maine – received $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to explore ways of reducing the soft cost of solar.
Unlike hard costs like panels and mounts, soft costs tend to be more flexible and vary by location. These costs include labor, which becomes more efficient over time, and permitting fees, which are set individually by cities and towns.
Three Connecticut municipalities – Middletown, Bridgeport, and Manchester – will work with 10 other New England towns to use the $1.5 million federal grant to cut these soft costs by streamlining permitting processes, updating planning and zoning codes, improving standards for connecting solar power to the electric grid, and increasing access to financing.