Rocky Hill, Conn., November 25, 2013  – The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) announced today that it would participate in a regional effort targeting reduction of non-hardware or “soft” costs for photovoltaic (PV) electricity systems while increasing coordination across Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The states have formed the New England Solar Cost-Reduction Partnership and the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), a national nonprofit organization that works with state leaders, federal agencies, industry leaders, and other stakeholders to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, will coordinate the initiative, which has been competitively awarded $1.5 million under the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge II program. The Rooftop Solar Challenge II contributes to the SunShot Initiative goal to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.

“Information sharing among the states and better understanding of the needs of stakeholders will help us identify efficiencies, potential collaborative activities, and opportunities for reducing soft costs,” said Warren Leon, Executive Director of CESA. “These states are all committed to the common goals of reducing the cost of solar electricity and building a strong regional market. We are excited to be partnering with them for this project.”

The New England Solar Cost-Reduction Partnership will help strengthen the solar market in the five-state region with 13 million residents. The partnership will refine and deploy innovations developed in Connecticut and Massachusetts for DOE’s Rooftop Solar Challenge I, and will more widely implement solar best practices from across the region. The Rooftop Solar Challenge II incentivizes teams to make it easier and more affordable for Americans to go solar by streamlining permitting processes, updating planning and zoning codes, improving standards for connecting solar power to the electric grid, and increasing access to financing. Teams will clear a path for rapid expansion of solar energy and serve as models for other communities across the nation.

“It is terrific to again see Connecticut’s “Green Bank” identifying and winning competitive solicitations that will ultimately drive down the cost of energy, and further support our Comprehensive Energy Strategy here in the State of Connecticut,” said Governor Dannel P. Malloy. “The engagement of Connecticut municipalities in both rounds is indicative of the energy, environmental and economic benefits associated with cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy opportunities.”

The following thirteen municipalities in New England have agreed to participate in the Rooftop Solar Challenge II project:

  • The City of Bridgeport, CT
  • The Town of Manchester, CT
  • The City of Middletown, CT
  • The City of Boston, MA
  • The City of Cambridge, MA
  • The Town of Winchester, MA
  • The City of Berlin, NH
  • The City of Concord, NH
  • The City of Keene, NH
  • The City of Nashua, NH
  • The City of Providence, RI
  • The Town of Richmond, RI
  • The City of Burlington, VT

The lead state agencies for this project are Connecticut’s Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA), the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (MA DOER), the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning (NH OEP), the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (RI OER), and the Vermont Public Service Department (VT PSD). Additional state agencies, major utilities, and other stakeholders will be key participants in the project.

“Over the past year and a half, Connecticut has almost doubled its installed residential solar PV capacity, while lowering costs and reliance on ratepayer-funded subsidies–demonstrating the potential of the Green Bank model to do more, faster, and with less,” stated Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of CEFIA.  “Rooftop Solar Challenge II will further support state and regional efforts to reduce soft costs and we look forward to working with our regional partners along with our local contractors, communities, and capital providers to provide consumers easy access to affordable capital.”

The following are quotes shared by Rooftop Solar Challenge Round I leaders from our Connecticut communities:

  • Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch stated, "Through our BGreen 2020 sustainability initiatives, the City of Bridgeport is committed to increasing our use of renewable energy, especially solar power. Thank you to CEFIA for their support of our efforts to make Bridgeport the cleanest, greenest city in the region."
  • “Fairfield is benefitting tremendously from initiatives such as Solarize and SunShot Rooftop Solar Challenge Round I which have made it more affordable and easier for our citizens to go solar. We look forward to contributing to Rooftop Solar Challenge Round II to see how we can make further improvements to municipal processes impacting installation of solar PV,” , said Michael C. Tetreau, Fairfield First Selectman.
  • "Work by CEFIA to streamline permitting of residential solar systems is very important because it helps to reduce the installation costs for these systems. Middletown's Clean Energy Taskforce is pleased to have assisted with Phase I and looks forward to working with CEFIA on Phase II implementation,” stated Ron Klattenberg, Chairman of the Middletown Clean Energy Taskforce and 16-year veteran of the Town Council.
  • “Through the Sunshot Challenge process the Town of Coventry was able to expedite permitting and reduce artificial barriers to PV installations,” stated John Elsesser, Coventry Town Manager for 25 years. “This was very helpful as the Solarize Coventry program brought in 42 new PV systems in 3 months. We look forward to evaluating the additional recommendations in the report to continue to improve Coventry’s speed and cost effectiveness of permitting solar systems.”
  • "The Town of Manchester was proud to be one of several municipalities who participated in Phase I of the SunShot Initiative, and we look forward to providing continuing assistance towards lowering the barriers for solar and other clean energy sources to take hold in our communities," Brian Wolverton, Office of Budget & Research in Manchester.

If you would like to learn more, please join us on December 10, 2013 at 1pm for a webinar presenting the results of CT’s Round I efforts and introducing the Round II project.
Please click the following link to register: http://go.ctcleanenergy.com/e/26582/register-440640455/3gn62/39064287

Access the Roofstop Solar Challenge II website, www.energizect.com/sunriseNE, to download CT’s Round I final project report as well as forthcoming tools that will be offered in Round II. To participate in the New England Solar Cost-Reduction Partnership, contact the Connecticut team at sunshot@ctcleanenergy.com or Isabelle Hazlewood at 860-258-7826. To access clean energy programs and financing products available in Connecticut, see http://go.ctcleanenergy.com/e/26582/2013-11-25/3gn68/39064287.

Source: CEFIA