Renewable Portfolio Standards
Just one reason Connecticut is a leader in renewable energy is the state’s strong Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). Utilities will have to pay high fees if the standards are not met, so there is strong incentive in Connecticut for utilities to offer solar incentives. The standards mandate that Connecticut generate 27% of all its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
Connecticut has the second-highest electrical bills in the country! No wonder so many people there adopt renewable energy. An investment in solar energy is more financially rewarding in states with high electric bills.
Excellent net metering laws are a real asset in Connecticut. Net metering is a plan in which solar panels or other renewable energy generators are connected to the public utility, allowing customers to offset the cost of the power they draw from the utility with credits they earn on their own production. If your system produces more power than you need, the excess is sold to the utility, which you see as a credit on your power bill.
Interconnection standards are rules for connecting solar and other electrical generation systems to the grid. The standards in Connecticut are straightforward and statewide. They make installation easier and usually less expensive, and net metering is more reliable too.
Solar Power Rebates
Connecticut has a good rebate program for solar power. It’s good on systems up to 20kW in size. You can take the rebate in a lump sum payment, or your installer can take it off his bill. A strong advantage to the latter method is that usually the installer will handle the paperwork.
Performance-Based Incentives (PBI)
Connecticut offers PBIs, which are incentives based on the actual, metered power that your system generates. Connecticut calls them Solar Power Performance Payments. Payments are based on kilowatt-hours (kWh) or BTUs generated by your system, as measured by the meter. The electricity produced is credited as Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), the value of which fluctuates by the rule of supply and demand. SRECs are a good way to help your system pay for itself.
Property Tax Exemption
Keep paying your previous property tax after installing the solar system. Connecticut homeowners enjoy a property tax exemption and have been since 1977. The value of their home will not be reassessed after the installation of a solar system.
Sales Tax Exemptions
In Connecticut you pay no sales tax on the purchase or installation of a solar energy system. That’s a 6.35% savings.
Federal Tax Credit
On top of these great Connecticut rebates and exemptions, you also qualify for the sizable tax credit from the Federal government. The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is currently worth 26 percent of the system cost, and will be deducted from your Federal income tax. The credit goes to those who buy their system (cash or loan), not to those who lease. If you lease a system, incentives go to the third-party owner. That’s a great reason to buy, not lease!