CT could expand its solar power under proposed bills – Connecticut Public

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Connecticut lawmakers are considering measures to advance solar projects around the state, as part of the state’s clean energy goals.

The state’s current energy plan outlines that by 2040, all its power would come from energy sources that don’t create carbon emissions, which are a main driver of climate change.

One bill would study how to speed up current projects, and push for community solar, which would allow customers to buy or lease part of larger, off-site solar systems.

Supporters say the bill could be a step towards helping the state’s electrical grid handle more demand, and reducing peak power hikes.

Another part of the proposal includes directing the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to study optimizing current approved solar projects.

“That may not be something that they can come back to us until January 2026,” said Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, D-Westport, and co-chair of the Energy and Technology Committee. “But we think it’s going to help us develop an effective roadmap for solar in the state of Connecticut.”

The committee-approved measure is waiting to be taken up by the House, which is in session later this week.

State Sen. Ryan Fazio, R-Greenwich, ranking member of the Energy and Technology committee, voted against advancing the bill, citing concerns it might increase rates for consumers and his desire to discuss the bill further on the Senate floor.

“I will continue negotiating with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make the legislation better,” Fazio said in an email to Connecticut Public.

Lawmakers are also considering a bill Gov. Ned Lamont proposed to expand solar in schools, and if approved, would allow them to harness state funds to install panels.

Rep. Steinberg said expanding solar is part of broader changes needed across the region’s electrical network going forward to bolster the grid. Building out renewable energy in New England will require many new transmission lines, as WBUR has reported.

“Even something as straightforward as trying to promote solar, touches on some of the other critical issues we have as a state, and as a region, for promoting use of renewable energy,” Steinberg said. “A lot of it will be focusing on infrastructure investments.”

In 2022, solar accounted for about 3% of Connecticut’s power generation, according to the Energy Information Administration.

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