How to Use the Solar Calculator
The best way to learn about local rebates, your home’s energy potential, and your eventual return on investment is to use our ModSun Solar Cost Calculator (see above). Enter your home address in the box, then click Check My Roof. You’ll get an instant picture of your roof’s productivity, your average energy expenses, and installation costs in your area—whether you decide to buy or loan. We’ll also provide system size recommendations and information about rebates and incentives you may be eligible for. Just select More Info under each purchasing strategy to learn more, and then connect with a solar pro.
Solar Power in Connecticut
Residents in Connecticut may not enjoy the sunniest weather in the country, but you wouldn’t know it based on the state’s renewable energy initiatives. Solar power in The Nutmeg State is booming, fueled by a wide array of state-led incentives that do everything short of paying residents to install solar power in their homes.
Not only does the state offer net metering, it also has a clear emissions reduction plan—starting in 2050, there is a goal to obtain 100 percent of its energy from clean power. Meanwhile, the government here has also levied taxes on utility spending to launch new renewable programs, and created its own funding source, the Connecticut Green Bank, to manage the collected money into statewide incentives. If you live in the state, it’s a great time to go solar, as you’ll face very few obstacles getting there. Below is what you need to know about Connecticut’s incentives, production, and prices to see if solar is right for your CT home.
Solar Productivity in Connecticut
With a UV index of 0.79, Connecticut is not the first state you think of when you say the word solar. Still, it’s solar potential should not be discounted—in summer, the state averages a full five solar hours per day, meaning that solar energy production could potentially offer a serious alternative to mitigate energy cost and use.
Solar Popularity in Connecticut
State support always affects residential installation numbers in an area, and Connecticut is no different—the government’s unwavering pro-solar stance means that installations have jumped throughout The Constitution State. According to industry estimates, residents and businesses throughout the state installed a whopping 91 MW of solar capacity in 2015, representing a 124 percent increase. Due to the high number of solar power incentives on offer to Connecticut residents, it’s not likely that demand for installations will decrease, meaning that capacity numbers should only grow in the coming years, especially as the state angles to meet its 2050 goal of 100 percent clean energy.
Average Connecticut Residential Electricity Use and Cost
Compared to the nation’s average energy consumption, Connecticut residents are quite efficient in their electricity use—residents here use significantly less power than the country as a whole, at 3,602 kWh per capita, compared to the US average of 4,566 kWh. The high price of energy here may be the cause for that thrifty energy consumption—paying about 18 cents per kWh, Connecticut ties with New York state for the most pricey energy expenditures in the nation. That fact alone is a great incentive to investigate alternatives to traditional grid-tied energy.
Installing Solar in Connecticut
The solar industry here is tightly regulated—solar installers must be licensed, and new installations must be permitted and inspected to ensure that all new projects meet the state’s interconnection standards. That means that residents here are protected from unsafe installation processes. There are dozens of qualified installers to choose from in the state, from local companies with a long business history in the area, to national brands like SolarCity and Sungevity, although if you choose to go with the latter, you may be ineligible for state incentives like the performance-based incentive program.
Connecticut State Solar Support
Connecticut is not coy about its position on green energy—as far back as 2004, an executive order cemented state support for solar energy, when an executive order was made mandating that 100 percent of power come from clean energy by 2050. To get to that lofty goal, the state has empowered residents to generate energy in their own homes by removing the usual barriers to entry.
Like many states in the Northeast, government support for renewable energy is high in Connecticut—a dazzling array of incentive programs are on offer for residents here, regardless of whether you intend to purchase your system outright, are looking for assistance in the form of fixed-interest loans, or even decide to lease your equipment. Net metering here is essentially limitless and can even be applied to a second property, and it’s one of the few states to offer a loan program to help make solar power more accessible.
Connecticut State Solar Incentives
Connecticut charges a small surcharge to utility customers to support the growth of clean energy programs, which it pools into its Connecticut Clean Energy Fund. That means that residents here have a wide swath of state-supported incentives to draw from to purchase and install solar systems. The Connecticut Green Bank administers the fund, which is organized into the following residential options:
- Smart-E Loans: This loan program provides a low-interest, long-term borrowing for residents investing in renewable and energy-efficient improvements to their home. No money down is required. Interest rates are fixed and range between 4.99 to 6.99 percent; however, if you bundle more than one eligible improvement into your plans, the rate could potentially be lowered to 2.99. A list of those eligible upgrades is available at the program’s website.
- Residential Solar Investment Program: There are two ways to participate in the state’s RSIP program: a tiered buy-down incentive for residents purchasing a PV system upfront, and their Performance-Based Incentive that offers solar leases with little to no money down. For those who choose to buy solar systems, incentives are offered at two levels, which are based off system capacity: for systems 10W or smaller, the state offers a return of $0.513 per watt. For those sized 10 to 20W, that rate is $0.40 per watt. For leases, the return is based off performance. Energy use is calculated for 12 months, and returns are generated by use levels, with the state offering $0.46 per watt. Details about these programs can be found here.
- Net Metering: Connecticut’s net metering policy is one of the most flexible programs in the nation—not only are there no capacity limits, the state also allows what’s known as “virtual net metering.” That means that any energy generated above your home’s needs can be metered not only against your home’s usage but also applied towards a separate property’s meter, like that of a vacation or second home, regardless of whether or not that property also has solar equipment installed on the premises.
Of course, like all US residents, Connecticut households opting to install solar are eligible for the national Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit. This credit is an incentive that returns qualifying taxpayers 30 percent of the price of their system. Over half of the residency’s energy must be generated using solar equipment in order to be eligible. Residents seeking the tax credit can apply using IRS form 5695.
Connecticut Local Solar Incentives
There are certain incentives which the state has left to the discretion of individual municipalities to authorize, meaning your eligibility may vary depending on your exact location. These include the following exemptions:
- Permit Fee Exceptions: While a building permit is required for all new solar installations, in certain areas, permit fees may be waived. Check with your local building department for more information.
- Property Tax Exemptions: Homes with solar power installed may be eligible for a 100 percent property tax exemption in certain municipalities, as long as energy generated does not exceed the property’s demand. Check with your county or city tax assessor for more information.