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House and Senate Pass Energy Bill
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Connecticut lawmakers have passed an energy bill that covers a lot of territory. It would create new financing programs to pay for increased energy efficiency in homes. It calls for a 15% reduction in electric rates. And as WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports, it would expand the amount of energy that comes from renewable sources in Connecticut, such as solar.

The bill would set a goal of generating 300 megawatts of electricity from solar power in the next decade in Connecticut. That’s enough energy to power more than 100,000 homes. In the past, Connecticut’s solar program has relied on rebates for homeowners and businesses that help pay for the installation of solar panels. But the demand for those rebates has been so high – the money is periodically used up. This bill would focus the rebates on homeowners. And it would help businesses pay for solar energy by requiring the utilities to purchase a certain amount of electricity that’s generated by the sun. Christopher Phelps of Environment Connecticut explains:

“This bill takes large-scale, more expensive, more costly commercial solar systems and moves those into a market-based incentive program that doesn’t rely on direct rebates. Rather, it relies on creating market-incentives through a required utility-procurement purchase of solar power from those systems and bring solar to the level where it can stand on its own two feet without subsidies in the future.”

Both the House and the Senate have approved the Energy Bill. It’s not clear yet whether the Governor will sign it.

For WNPR, I'm Nancy Cohen.