Helping your Connecticut business afford the transition to solar energy.
If you’re a commercial business owner in Connecticut, you should know about the commercial solar incentives available to businesses that install solar energy systems. Here are summaries of the major Connecticut solar incentive programs.
Connecticut Solar Incentive Programs
Connecticut’s NRES Program
With the final procurement of the LREC/ZREC program underway, it is important to turn our attention to the new Non-Residential Renewable Energy Tariff, or “Successor” Program in Connecticut. Let’s look at how the new program differs from its predecessor, as well as how you can benefit from it.
Buy All Tarriff
There are two ways to benefit from the Successor program. The first is called the “Buy All Tariff”. It is simplest to think of this as similar to a Power Purchase Agreement. By entering into this agreement, the customer will benefit from fixed compensation over the 20-year term in the form of direct quarterly payments from the utilities, or on-bill credits, for all energy + RECs produced by the solar panels. Under this tariff, rooftop leases are a viable and often attractive offer for commercial property owners. In a rooftop lease, the property owner leases their unused rooftop to a solar developer and receives lease payments. The developer owns and operates the solar array and is responsible for all maintenance of the system. This is a great no investment alternative to a turnkey sale.
The second option in the Successor Program is called the “Netting Tariff”, which is most similar to the previous LREC/ZREC Program, in which energy production is settled with the onsite usage monthly, and customers are compensated for RECs separately. Any excess production is sent to the grid and the customer will see a compensation for this energy as a monetary credit on their utility bill. Any unused credits at the end of the year will be rolled forward. At the end of the 20-year term these credits will be cashed out.
The maximum project size allowed in the Successor Program is 2 megawatts (2,000 kilowatts). The successor program has increased the length of the agreements from the LREC/ZREC program. Instead of 15 years, program agreements will now last 20 years. The first solicitation will open February 1st, 2022, and bids will be due on March 13th, 2022.
The Connecticut Green Bank sponsors the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program, which allows you to finance a renewable energy project over time. How does this work? Through the C-PACE program, you receive a voluntary benefit assessment on your property tax bill. Then you can repay your project’s cost over time along with your property taxes. This incentive enables you to make your facility more energy efficient while you pay off the installation and create more predictable energy expenses for your business.
Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Systems
When you install a solar energy system, this tax exemption prevents you from paying additional taxes on your facility’s increased value. That allows you to reap the benefits of your installation without making you pay extra for it, which in turn makes your solar project more affordable to install and maintain.
As part of Connecticut’s Equitable Modern Grid initiative, Energy Storage Solutions is offering upfront and performance-based incentives for businesses and property owners to purchase and install energy storage systems. As an eligible Energy Storage Solutions contractor, Verogy installs only industry-leading and trusted battery storage solutions specifically developed to meet the requirements of these industries.
When battery storage is added to solar energy projects there are numerous benefits. First and foremost, it lowers your facility’s energy needs during peak demand, reducing costs by allowing you to store the energy until your building needs it. It keeps your facility running without interruption if the electricity goes out as the storage system uses saved energy to power your building. Battery storage also helps the environment by ensuring no energy goes to waste and is a cleaner source compared to other options.
With these incentives, certain organizations could receive up to 50% off the installation price with added performance payments based on the average power the battery system contributes during essential periods. Additional savings may also be available for those on the grid edge, critical facilities, facilities replacing fossil fuel generators, and some other qualifying small businesses. Not only does this enable customers to save money at the time of purchase, the value and cost savings continue over the life of the system, allowing you to get the most out of your investment.
Our solar team can help you determine if you’re eligible for certain Connecticut incentive programs.
Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC)
The federal Investment Tax Credit has been renewed for 2020 at a rate of 26%. If you purchase your solar energy system outright, you’ll be eligible to have that 26% incentive deducted from your federal income taxes. This incentive option can make it more feasible and appealing to purchase your solar array outright, as other purchasing options aren’t eligible for this tax credit.
Net metering is a process that connects your solar energy system to the power grid so your system can distribute any excess energy it produces into the grid, which sends that energy back into the community. For the moment, net metering still exists in Connecticut, but it’s being phased out after Connecticut lawmakers passed legislation to dismantle it. This legislation was considered controversial when it was passed, since net metering has been successful here in Connecticut and elsewhere. However, the opponents of net metering say it’s an inefficient way of generating electricity, and that it presents more costs than benefits for taxpayers, and that’s the opinion that prevailed with lawmakers.
Utility companies are developing replacements for net metering, and they include lower electrical rates they will pay to solar customers for excess power generation. They are currently calling these rates tariffs.
On the other hand, if you installed your solar array before the date the legislation was passed, you’ll be grandfathered into the new system, and you can still use net metering until Dec. 31, 2039.
Our team at Verogy helps you navigate these tax credits and incentives so you can reduce your energy costs, increase your bottom line, and make the most of your solar investment. We’re here to make sure your Connecticut business becomes energy efficient through renewable energy.
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