The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) recently announced updates to the Energy Storage Solutions program to increase accessibility and adoption by residential customers in Connecticut. The changes boost upfront incentives and supply additional motivations to install solar and storage in low-income or underserved communities.
Residential customers can now receive up to $16,000 in upfront incentives, an increase from the previous maximum incentive of $7,500. For customers that qualify as low-income, the upfront incentive increased to $600 from $400 per kWh. For customers that reside in an underserved community, the upfront incentive increased to $450/kWh from $300/kWh.
The existing Federal Investment Tax Credit program provides 30% tax credits on the costs of installing solar and battery storage systems. Additionally, through the Inflation Reduction Act, a bonus energy investment credit is available for solar installations in low-income (10% to 20% additional tax credit value) and energy communities (10% additional tax credit value) for third-party owned systems (i.e., leases and power purchase agreements).
Other approved changes to the Energy Storage Solutions program include:
- Commercial sector incentive review. For the commercial sector, which the PURA says has experienced strong demand since the start of the program in 2022, project approvals will be paused on June 15, 2024, or earlier if the 100 MW of available capacity in Tranche 2 becomes fully subscribed, and until a ruling is made in Year Four Decision in Docket 24-08-05. Currently, approximately 70 MW of capacity remains in Tranche 2.
- Expansion of opportunity for multifamily property participation. Per the decision, multifamily affordable housing properties now qualify for the low-income incentive rate.
- Recycling working group. PURA requested that the Green Bank convene and lead a working group of relevant stakeholders, including the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to proactively investigate the potential issue of solar panel and battery waste. Per the decision, “while solar and battery waste is not yet a prevalent issue in Connecticut, the Authority determined that the development of a solution is needed sooner rather than later, to ensure state preparedness.”