Case Study: Connecticut’s Residential Solar Program

As the Connecticut Green Bank works to design high-impact programs for the solar market, it has sup­ported the design and adoption of legislation that expanded the Residential Solar Investment Program (RSIP) by creating the Solar Home Renewable Energy Credit (SHREC). The SHREC provides a stable funding structure for an expanded RSIP.

The design of the RSIP was more effective than it was set out to do. It accomplished its goals eight years ahead of schedule and far below the anticipated budget. And therefore, one of Governor Malloy’s gubernatorial campaign promises in 2015 was to increase the RSIP tenfold.

Meanwhile, the reliance on renewable-energy credits (RECs) to satisfy the state’s renewable portfolio stan­dard (RPS) was being predominantly met with out-of-state resources from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, yielding little economic development benefits to Connecticut.

Decision makers saw the state’s approach needed to be retooled to incentivize in-state market develop­ment. Solar-market demand was accelerating faster than incentives could fulfill it—even as falling incentives dropped more rapidly than decreasing installed costs.

The need to maintain the momentum of the solar market’s growth led to a proposal for fine-tuning the incentive programs the state offered.

This led to the creation of a bill, HB 6838 (Public Act 15-194), proposing a flexible outline for expansion of RSIP through creation of the SHREC.

This bill passed with support from a range of stakeholders including the leadership of the Governor of Connecticut and, in general, bipartisan support from the Connecticut General Assembly.