November 30, 2018

State powers up solar generation

Liese Klein
Liese Klein
L-R: Susan Bysiewicz, Ned Lamont and U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy view a solar panel at Trinity Solar in Cheshire in October.

Connecticut is among the fastest-growing small states when it comes to solar power generation and is close to hitting the milestone of 500 megawatts of installed solar, according to a new report by the Solar Energy Industries Association.

As of the second quarter of 2018, the Nutmeg State ranked 19th nationwide in solar capacity, up from 21st last year, with 69,632 homes powered by solar. Even so, only 1.24 percent of the state's total electricity was generated by solar panels.

Statewide, solar installation and related companies employed 2,168 people.

The industry group credited the Connecticut Property Assessed Clean Energy program for sparking solar growth through financing and services to government and commercial property owners. "This unique program will serve as a model for other states to follow," the report stated.

Retailers cited for major solar installations included a Waterbury project by Brookfield Properties Retail Group, IKEA and Kohl's. New Haven's Albertus Magnus College installed a 770-kilowatt solar system in campus carports earlier this month.

Solar and other renewable-energy sources contributed to a 2.8-percent drop in retail electricity sales in the state in 2017 compared the year before, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Energy-efficiency efforts also contributed to the decline, which saw electricity sales in Connecticut fall to the lowest level this century.

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