Renewable Energy Technology Incentives in Connecticut
The trend for renewable energy is moving forward in Connecticut and there are now a number of incentives in place that benefit both businesses and private residences who want to convert to greener technologies. While in 2014 the amount of electricity produced by renewable sources was just 3.5% the state recently set a bold target of 23% by 2020.
The change has been driven by setting up initiatives such as the Connecticut Green Bank which uses crowdfunding and low cost loans to help boost the installation of technologies such as solar. While industries like solar have been slow to start up in the state they are now beginning to gather pace and the hope is that it will thrive in the years to come.
Because there is great potential for other renewable technologies because of the location, particularly for off shore wind, Connecticut has so far dug in its heels when it comes to large scale utilities. It is the only state in the US that has legislation against the building of wind farms and only has 3 large wind turbines that produce about 100 kW each. This may be about to change, however, with the proposed building of 9.5 MW site at Colebrook.
There’s no doubt that if Connecticut is going to reach it’s 23% target by 2020, they will need to include a mix of renewables including wind and can’t just depend on solar.
Solar PV Incentives in Connecticut
By far the biggest emphasis has been put on the development of solar PV. Installations benefit from the Federal Tax Rebate but also the Residential Solar Investment Program which currently has a budget of $10 million and is aimed at promoting home installations. Utility net metering credits, federal tax incentives and low cost finance currently make installing solar PV a very attractive option in the state and a good long term investment for homeowners.
Solar PV Case Study in Connecticut
The current climate allows home owners to either purchase their solar panels outright or enter into a leasing agreement. You currently get one of the biggest returns on investment in the US here. Purchasing a 5 kW array will cost in the region of $16,050 and with the Federal Tax Rebate this should come down to $12,045. Add in the other incentives such as the Residential Solar Investment Program and you will be breaking even in under 10 years with an overall profit after 25 years exceeding $35,000. There is also the rise in property value which could add an extra $15,000.
Solar Thermal Incentives in Connecticut
Low cost local loans mean that solar water heating is affordable in the state and you also benefit from the Federal Tax Rebate. Schemes such as the Home Energy Solutions Loan Program can be used for a variety of residential energy improvements including solar thermal for those who are on low incomes.
Small Hydro Incentives in Connecticut
Micro Hydro is not a priority in the state, with most of the resources and incentives being put into solar at the moment but Connecticut has potential for this technology. While it does have large scale plants such as the Stevenson Dam and is actively looking at tidal power production, the support for micro hydro is mostly through nationwide incentives such Federal Tax Rebate and the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit.
Geothermal Incentives in Connecticut
Ground source heating is supported by schemes such as Norwich Public Utilities (Electric) Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program which is specifically geared towards heat pumps, offering $150 per ton. While providing renewable heat for hot water and warmth, heat pumps are more suited for locations where the insulation is good. Older buildings can suffer from too much heat loss and may need retrofitting which can add to the cost of the installation.
Biomass Incentives in Connecticut
Like many states, Connecticut is seriously beginning to look at the value of going down the biomass route. A $225 million project to build a plant in Plainfield that will provide electricity for 37,000 homes is currently in development. Residential use of wood burners and biomass boilers is on the increase but much of the concentration is on the sector. The Federal Biorefinery Assistance Program is aimed at making financing available for large projects covering 80% of the costs up to $250 million.
Wind Power Incentives in Connecticut
Wind power may figure more in the future of Connecticut since it made the commitment to producing 23% of its energy from renewable sources. Indeed, it will need to produce more power from onshore and offshore wind in the near future if they are serious about reaching their target. Currently there are only three large wind turbines in the state though planning permission is being obtained for a number of larger scale wind farms.
While Connecticut is heavily focused on solar for the moment, the need for a strong mix of different renewable technologies is going to be needed if they are to catch up some of the leading players in the US such as California or Colorado. For the moment, it’s a great time to be investing in solar PV with all the state and nationwide incentives that go with it.
If you want to find out about all the incentives for renewable energy that Connecticut currently offers, then visit the DSIRE website for a full list.