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Solar Policy

Connecticut Prepares to Launch Year 3 of the Solar ZREC Market

Connecticut Light & Power (“CL&P”) and United Illuminating (“UI”) are expected to formally launch the 2014 Zero-Emission Renewable Energy Credit (“ZREC”) solar incentive program over the next several weeks. This will mark the third year the Connecticut has offered the well-received ZREC solar program (2013 program, 2012 program), and since the ZREC program began in 2012, it has provided crucial state-level incentives for over 800 individual solar projects throughout the state.

The ZREC program is structured as a “reverse-auction” bid process, which ensures that Connecticut rate-payers receive the greatest bang-for-their-buck since all solar projects must compete against each other for the limited annual funding. In addition, the fixed state-wide ZREC budget ensures that the solar industry is rewarded for continuing to drive down the cost of solar installations (i.e. the lower the average awarded ZREC prices, the more solar that gets installed in the state).

By way of background, A “ZREC” represents the environmental attributes derived from each megawatt-hour (“MWh”) of electricity produced by a zero-emission form of generation such as solar photovoltaics (for more background info, please see prior blog). The ZREC Program provides solar system owners with a 15-year contractual revenue source which pays them a fixed price for every kilowatt-hour (“kWh”) of solar electricity generated, in addition to the savings on their electric bill. The ZREC cash payments and the monthly electricity bill savings are further compounded by substantial Federal solar incentives that can dramatically lower the upfront cost of commercial solar projects.

For Connecticut businesses interested in exploring the financial feasibility of “going solar”, the ZREC solar incentives can provide a critical cash flow supplement to a solar project’s economic profile. Whether a business is interested in owning a solar system, or leasing one, or entering into a third-party Power Purchase Agreement (“PPA”) arrangement whereby the business has no capital outlay at all (but saves money immediately), the ZREC incentive is the key economic driver.

In addition, Connecticut recently introduced two new solar innovations: (1) the highly attractive C-PACE financing program which allows property owners to finance solar projects on extremely favorable terms through an additional assessment on their property tax bill; and (2) the Connecticut Solar Leasing Program which provides CT businesses with compelling leasing and PPA alternatives

Please contact the EnterSolar team to learn more about how your business can take advantage of all of these highly attractive CT solar incentives.

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