Connecticut Green Guide
March 1, 2016
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is attempting to get a stalled “shared-solar” pilot program back on track.
A legislative committee on Tuesday accepted public testimony on a bill that would allow Eversource and Avangrid to recover the cost of administering the program, which was signed into law last year.
The two-year pilot, which is capped at six megawatts, would allow groups of utility customers to subscribe to a shared distributed generation facility. The pilot includes any type of Class I distributed generation, including solar panels, wind turbines, fuel cells and others.
Approximately half of states allow for such arrangements.
DEEP was supposed to issue an RFP at the start of this year, but was delayed when utilities pointed out that the law’s language was silent on whether utilities could recover their costs of administering the program, including costs related to billing and crediting customers who are sharing in solar or other clean energy facilities.
The Connecticut Mirror first reported on the delay.
DEEP said in testimony Tuesday that it asked the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to rule on whether the 2015 law allowed the utilities, known as electric distribution companies (EDCs), to recover costs related to the program.
But PURA declined early last month to issue that ruling, and suggested that DEEP either use a funding provision in existing law to launch the pilot program or ask lawmakers for a fix.
DEEP is proposing that the EDCs – which include Eversource and Avangrid – be allowed to recover those costs through tariff mechanisms subject to PURA approval, which would have a “small impact” on electric rates, according to the Office of Consumer Counsel. For full article.