Hartford, CT - Connecticut ranked 10th nationwide for total solar power capacity per person installed in 2014, according to a new report released by Environment Connecticut Research & Policy Center.
The report, Lighting the Way III: The Top States that Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2014, says that states like Connecticut have outpaced sunnier locales like Florida because of policies that allow increasing numbers of homeowners, businesses, communities and utilities to go solar.
“Clean energy policies adopted since 2011 have made Connecticut a leader, helping to light the way to make solar power a key part of our energy future,” said Chris Phelps, Environment Connecticut State Director.
Solar power in Connecticut has grown 221% per Capita since 2012, ranking the state 13th in the nation. The top solar growth states in the nation, like Connecticut, have adopted renewable energy requirements, strong laws allowing solar customers to sell their excess power to the electric grid, and other policies encouraging growth of the industry.
"Our analysis shows that policy choices are a key driver of solar energy growth," said Gideon Weissman of Frontier Group, report co-author. “State and local government policy leadership is closely aligned with success in growing solar energy.”
Solar energy has grown rapidly in recent years across the country, its capacity tripling in the last three years. The industry is adding jobs much faster than the overall economy, employing 1,600 people in Connecticut last year. [FROM WWW.SOLARSTATES.ORG}
New legislation signed by Governor Malloy in 2015 with bipartisan support from the state legislature lays a foundation for continued growth of solar power, and jobs, in Connecticut by setting a goal of building enough residential solar systems to power over 40,000 homes in the state by 2022.
“Demand for solar power in Connecticut is growing exponentially,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Connecticut Green Bank. “Consumers continue to demand solar power despite a 70 percent reduction in state incentives. In fact, increased private investment has enabled the market to offer lease and loan products that deliver immediate positive cash flow to consumers. This makes solar PV a cleaner, cheaper and more reliable alternative."
The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which sets state-by-state limits on carbon pollution from coal and gas power plants and was finalized last month, provides additional incentives for Connecticut to accelerate its development of solar energy. According to Environment America research, solar power could easily meet about half the pollution reduction targets required by the plan.
“Connecticut is one state ‘lighting the way’ to show how solar power can play a major role in our energy future and the fight to stop climate change,” concluded Phelps.