September 3, 2018

Bloomfield shared-solar project delayed until 2019

Photo | Contributed
Photo | Contributed
Shared-solar projects are off to a slow start.
Matt Pilon

A shared clean-energy pilot program that's been beset by delays over the past few years will take a bit longer to debut one of its three projects.

Clean Energy Collective LLC informed officials in June that it now expects its two-megawatt solar array off Blue Hills Avenue in Bloomfield to be in service by July 2019, a year later than it had hoped.

Clean Energy Collective, which is financing the project, wrote that state approvals and other steps have taken longer than initially expected. Bloomfield-based C-TEC Solar is engineering, procurement and construction contractor on the project.

The delay means at least two of the three solar projects selected last year by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) for the shared clean-energy pilot program won't be in service in 2018.

Shared clean energy offers an alternative option to utility customers who can't use rooftop solar. The model allows those customers to "subscribe" to another solar project, even if they are not located near it, and receive a credit on their bill for the clean energy produced.

In all, three pilot projects are in the pipeline with a combined capacity of 5.1 megawatts. The other two are in Shelton and Thompson.

DEEP's June 2017 clean-energy selections came after the agency scrapped its initial request for proposals earlier that year, citing concerns about high prices and siting restrictions. Its revised RFP drew less interest from bidders.

As the pilot inches forward, state regulators are set later this year to begin proceedings to significantly grow the shared clean-energy model in Connecticut, following passage of a new law during the most recent legislative session.

The legislature allotted up to 25 megawatts per year for the expanded program, which the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority will begin crafting regulations for this September.

An RFP will come at a later date.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story has been modified to clarify that C-TEC Solar is building the Bloomfield project and that the nameplate direct-capacity is two megawatts.

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