Connecticut is one of the nation’s top solar states, offering incentives for residents to cut their utility costs and use renewable resources to power their homes. The state legislature has prioritized the protection of natural resources, with an aggressive renewable energy portfolio (RPS) policy that translates to tax benefits for solar customers. Find detailed information on solar power in Connecticut including electricity costs, solar panel companies and installers, and various resources, rebates and incentives for going green.

Connecticut’s Solar
Report Card

Grade
Methodology

To determine a grade for each state, our researchers and solar experts analyzed data on crucial solar-advancement criteria from the following sources:

We determined a rank from 1 to 10 for each state in each category. We then combined the scores with the following weights and assigned an overall grade for each state. Our goal is to encourage those considering solar panels for their homes to get a basic understanding of solar potential in their areas and discover the best opportunities for clean energy available.

Incentives & Rebates, 40%

Electricity Rate, 15%

Renewable Energy Policy, 30%

Interconnection Ease, 5%

Photovoltaic Potential, 10%

Expensive Electricity? Explore Connecticut’s Cost Trends

Electricity is expensive in Connecticut, with average electricity costs at about $.17/kWh. Residential customers bear the brunt of the cost, paying even higher prices of about $.18/kWh. While rates declined minimally from 2009 to 2012, the overall cost of electricity is up dramatically from 2002 and is well above the national average. These high costs have contributed to consumers’ desire to switch to more cost-effective forms of power, including solar.

Cost of Residential Electricity

Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration
*as of Q3 2015

Connecticut’s Solar Library:
Rebates, Policies & Taxes

Connecticut Solar Policies & Incentives

Many Connecticut residents are choosing solar energy to take advantage of incentives offered by the solar-friendly state government. The governor and General Assembly are committed to renewable energy, and state-sponsored programs designed to entice municipalities and business owners have spurred solar development in recent years. In fact, solar panel installation has tripled since 2012, with more than a 100 percent increase between 2014 and 2015 alone. Homeowners can benefit from Connecticut’s Residential Solar Investment Program, which offers a variety of options, from leases with no up-front costs to cost reductions based on the specific system.

REBATES/INCENTIVES

United Illuminating Company Small ZREC Tariff

Owners of ZREC (Zero Emission Renewable Energy) facilities, including solar photovoltaic installations, are allowed to sell their renewable energy credits at a fixed price for 15 years. The Small ZREC price is set at an additional 10 percent of the Medium ZREC average bid price. The Small ZREC tariff rate recently was set at about $84. The program is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Eversource Small ZREC Tariff

Owners of ZREC facilities, including solar photovoltaic installations, are allowed to sell their renewable energy credits at a fixed price under a 15-year contract. The program is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Small ZREC Tariff rate recently was set at about $81.

Residential Solar Investment Program

Lawmakers aimed to encourage up to 300 MW of new solar photovoltaic systems by 2022 through this residential investment program. Applicants must be customers of Eversource or United Illuminating, and the program is limited to one- to four-family owner-occupied houses. Two rebate programs are available.

Smart-E Loans

Long-term, low-interest loans are available to homeowners who plan to upgrade their home energy systems. Eligible systems are in owner-occupied residences with one to four units, and located within the state. Loans are set at fixed rates and have no prepayment penalties.

Energy Conservation Loans

The Connecticut Housing Investment Fund provides loans to buy and install cost-saving energy conservation improvements, including solar photovoltaic systems, to homeowners who meet certain income limits. Loans must be repaid over 10 years.

Commercial PACE Financing

Commercial, industrial and multi-family property owners may be eligible to finance energy-efficient and clean-energy improvements through a special assessment on the property through the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. The lien on the property moves with the title to the next owner.

POLICIES

Renewables Portfolio Standard

Connecticut’s RPS was first created in 1998 and requires electric suppliers to obtain at least 27 percent of their retail loads through renewable energy by 2020. Of that, 20 percent must come from Class I resources, including solar.

Net metering

The state’s utilities are required to provide net metering to customers that generate more electricity than they consume. Excess generation credits are carried over each month for one year. At the end of the year, the utility pays for any remaining credits.

Interconnection

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority of Connecticut oversees interconnection guidelines for distributed energy systems up to 20 MW in capacity. Under the three-tiered system, which includes a standard interconnection agreement and application fees, customers must install an external disconnect switch and maintain liability insurance based on the system’s capacity.

Building Energy Code

Municipalities within the state are required to include roof-installed, residential solar photovoltaic systems up to 12 kW within the building permit application process. The installation must conform to provisions in the state building code. In addition, certain commercial building projects that are projected to cost $5 million or more are required to follow “green” building guidelines.

Building Permit Fee Waivers for Renewable Energy Projects

Class I renewable energy projects, which includes solar photovoltaic systems, can be exempt from paying building permit fees should a municipality choose to pass a local ordinance to that effect.

Local Option – Residential Sustainable Energy Program

Municipalities may establish programs to help homeowners complete energy upgrades through an assessment or lien on the property. Municipalities may issue bonds or secure private, state or federal funding to help pay for the program.

None specifically for commercial

TAX CREDITS

None

None for residential specifically

None specifically for commercial

EXEMPTIONS

Sales and Use Taxes

Solar photovoltaic systems are exempt from sales and use taxes in the state. The exemption includes the equipment and labor related to the installation of the system.

Property Tax Exemption

Residential, commercial and industrial systems that generate electricity for the owners’ use may be eligible for a 100 percent property tax exemption for renewable energy property. The claim must be filed in the property’s jurisdiction by November 1 of the assessment year.

None for residential specifically

None for commercial specifically

Connecticut Companies & Solar Panel Installers

Connecticut solar installations totaled some $270 million in 2015, and the state has more than 150 solar companies, with roughly a third of those devoted to contracting and installation services. Find out more about going solar from one of the following:

AGEIS Solar Energy

The solar division of Aegis designs and installs both grid-tied and off-grid solar photovoltaic systems.

Where it operatesBrandford, CT

Year of opening1989

All Green It

All Green It is a full-service solar company for residential, business and government organizations. The company offers software for clients to remotely keep track of energy produced by their solar system.

Where it operatesBristol, CT

Year of opening2008

BeFree Solar

BeFree installs both rooftop and ground-mounted solar arrays, and offers discounts for group purchases to encourage participation.

Where it operatesMadison, CT

Year of opening1985

Greenskies

Ranked in the top ten North American solar companies in 2015, Greenskies specializes in solar financing, system design and project implementation.

Where it operatesMiddletown, CT

Year of opening2008

JD Solar Solutions

This family-run business was founded with the goal of making solar energy simple and affordable. The company offers complete services from consultation through installation and monitoring.

Where it operatesBolton, CT

Year of opening2007

New England Solar & Electrical

Founded by a licensed electrician, New England Solar & Electrical brings electrical expertise to the design and installation process to increase the efficiency of solar systems.

Where it operatesStatewide

Year of opening2006

Nexamp, Inc.

Nexamp develops, designs, builds and owns commercial solar systems.

Where it operatesHartford, CT

Year of opening2006

Renewable Energy CT

The founder of Renewable Energy CT was inspired to learn more about solar power in the 1970s. Today the company offers various solar systems and helps customers understand tax credits and incentives for implementing solar power.

Where it operatesBranford, CT

Ross Solar Group

This family-owned organization operates throughout the Northeast, offering residential and commercial installations. The company is heavily involved in the Solarize CT effort to bring more solar power to the state.

Where it operatesDanbury, CT

Year of opening2007

Soluxe Solar

Soluxe Solar specializes in residential and small business customers.

Where it operatesWestport, CT

Year of opening2011

Sun-Wind Solutions

Sun-Wind Solutions designs and installs solar panels, wind turbines and solar thermal systems for homes and commercial properties.

Where it operatesFairfield, CT

Year of opening2009

Sunlight Solar Energy

Sunlight Solar operates across four states, providing free consultations, installation services, and various financing options for residential and commercial clients.

Where it operatesStatewide

Year of opening1988

Waldo Renewable Electric

Waldo offers solar solutions for homes, businesses and schools.

Where it operatesOld Saybrook, CT

Year of opening2006

Solar Resources

Want to learn more about going solar? These state and national resources can help answer your questions.

Connecticut General Assembly

Find out how the Connecticut government is supporting new solar resources for citizens and businesses.

HomePower

This journal features information about how to use renewable energy to power homes, and aims to assist people in making informed, fiscally sound decisions about energy consumption.

Solar Connecticut

This nonprofit organization is working to build a statewide community of those with an interest in solar energy. Its goal is to educate and inform Connecticut’s residents about solar power.

Solar Electric Power Association

Founded in 1992, this nonprofit organization facilitates clean energy use through utility integration and the use of solar. It works with electric utilities and companies that offer solar power, energy storage, demand response and other technologies.

State of Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority

Part of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, PURA regulates the rates and services of electricity companies.

U.S. Energy Information Administration – Connecticut Profile

This federal site allows users to find out where Connecticut gets its energy, and to research the statistics behind the state’s supply and demand.