Connecticut Green Bank Awards Solar Hot Water Equipment to CTECS and Cosgrove Animal Shelter in Branford

Education and community-focused organizations respond to equipment donation request for proposals (RFP); systems are still available for other organizations through the RFP

Hartford, CT (June 20, 2021) – The Connecticut Green Bank is pleased to announce that the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System (CTECS) in Hartford and the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter in Branford are the first two recipients for the award of donated domestic solar hot water equipment. These organizations were selected through a Request for Proposals (RFP) and will be responsible for providing all expenses associated with the installation and commissioning of the systems. The Green Bank has released an updated RFP seeking applications from other organizations that could benefit from the remaining solar hot water systems available for donation.

CTECS is the largest high school system in Connecticut, serving more than 11,000 full time students in 17 diploma-granting technical schools, one technical education center and two aviation maintenance programs. The systems donated to CTECS will be installed by students and staff at eight of their schools:  H.C. Wilcox Technical High School in Meriden; Eli Whitney Technical High in Hamden; H.H. Ellis Technical High School in Danielson; Platt Technical High School in Milford; Ella T. Grasso Technical High in Groton; J. M. Wright in Stamford; E.C. Goodwin in New Britain; and Emmett O’Brien in Ansonia.

The solar hot water systems will be used as part of CTECS E-House program, which serve as energy efficiency learning laboratories featuring high-efficiency and clean, renewable energy technologies and examples of past and present construction practices. The first E-House was opened in New Britain in 2011, with six more built since. They plan to construct an E-House at each of their locations.

“The Town of Branford is grateful for the solar thermal donation. Technology like this helps the Town keep operational costs low and simultaneously benefits our environment. We are pleased to reaffirm our commitment to being a sustainable community,” said James B. Cosgrove, First Selectman, Town of Branford.

The Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter is a municipal animal shelter and animal control department serving Branford and North Branford. While they are dedicated to the two towns they serve, their adoption and education programs and their community engagement are known statewide. They emphasize and organize programming for children of all ages and adults with special needs to encourage bonding with animals. The two 120-gallon solar hot water systems donated to the Shelter are valued at approximately $11,500.

“In partnership with the local energy committee, a local architectural firm and the Office of Sustainability, the Shelter’s goal is to become one of the first net zero animal shelters in the country. By producing our own domestic hot water through solar thermal energy this will greatly help us achieve our net zero objectives,” said Laura Burban, Director of the Shelter. “We believe in helping to protect our environment and make our building healthy, comfortable and safe for all who work, visit and temporarily live here.”

Organizations that could benefit from the donation of the remaining solar hot water systems may apply to the RFP. Preference in award will be provided to proposals that demonstrate the following: benefits to persons of low and/or moderate income; capacity to achieve successful installation, maintenance, and monitoring of the equipment; and educational benefits of the installation and monitoring system output. To access the RFP, please visit https://www.ctgreenbank.com/about-us/open-rfps/.

Running Brook Farms Adds Solar System to Power Their Business

Using a Rural Energy for America Program grant and C-PACE financing through the Connecticut Green Bank, the Killingworth business will save on their electricity costs

Hartford, CT (June 21, 2021) – The Connecticut Green Bank and Running Brook Farms in Killingworth are proud to announce the closing of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing for the installation of a rooftop solar photovoltaic system at the property at 219 Route 80. The garden center and landscaping business has been in Killingworth for more than 50 years. In addition to a nursery and greenhouses, Running Brook Farms offers a complete range of landscaping services from design to construction. In 2019, Running Brook Farms became one of the first farms in Connecticut to grow hemp for the production of medicinal CBD oil.

“We have chosen to invest in solar technology simply because it is the right thing to do both for our business and the environment. We feel that is our responsibility to adopt more sustainable agricultural practices. In particular given the intense energy demands associated with indoor cannabis production, solar technology should be part of every growers’ sustainability plan!” said Scott Papoosha, owner of Running Brook Farms.

Running Brook Farms in Killingworth

The 47.52 kW solar system will be installed by Waldo Renewable Electric of Old Lyme, a solar contractor using the C-PACE program for the first time. The system is projected to produce energy savings equal to carbon sequestered by 450 tree seedlings grown for 10 years and gross total cost savings of more than $570,000 over the 25-year effective useful life of the panels.

Running Brook Farms was able to secure a Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant that covered 25% of the total project cost, with C-PACE financing covering the remainder. The Connecticut Resource Conservation & Development’s CT Farm Energy Program (CFEP) helped Running Brook Farms with one-on-one assistance in applying for the REAP grant. Since 2010 CFEP has assisted with the implementation of over $24 million dollars in energy projects in the state which equates to just under $5 million in REAP grants secured.

“Making farms resilient is more important than ever. Farms are not only stewards of the land but also providers of our food,” said Amanda Fargo-Johnson, CT Farm Energy Program (CFEP) Director. “Assistance from CFEP can help a farm create a sustainable plan for their energy needs, whether through energy efficiency upgrades or generating their own renewable energy. For some farms it’s one project for other farms it may mean multiple projects in phases to help them attain energy resilience.”

This project is also credited as the one that recently propelled Connecticut’s C-PACE program Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program over the $200 million in clean energy investment milestone.

“I’m excited that Running Brook Farms is able to move forward with this solar project, and that they helped the program reach this milestone. Connecticut’s C-PACE program is the most successful in per capita deployment when compared to other state programs,” said Mackey Dykes, Vice President of Financing Programs at the Green Bank. “It takes a strong network of contractors, lenders, and building owners working together towards the goal of reducing building level emissions to make this happen.”

For more information on Running Brook Farms please visit https://runningbrookfarms.com/, or for information on their CBD products, visit https://runningbrookhempco.com/. Information on C-PACE can be found at www.cpace.com.

New Berkeley Lab Study Analyzes Success of Connecticut Green Bank Program

New study finds green bank program successfully reaches underserved communities

Finds delinquency and annualized losses of green bank financing program are next to zero

 

WASHINGTON (May 6, 2021) — The Electricity Markets & Policy Group at Berkeley Lab with support from the Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office this week released a study on the Connecticut Green Bank and its solar leasing program in partnership with PosiGen.

“We show that this program has successfully reached underserved customers and has reasonable repayment rates given the credit characteristics of the participants,” said the research group at Berkeley Lab. “The Green Bank/PosiGen program reaches many more underserved customers than other PV financing programs in Connecticut.”

The Connecticut Green Bank was established in 2011 and has since deployed over $2.2 billion in capital for clean energy projects across the state. Projects recorded through 2020 show that for every $1 of public funds committed by the Green Bank that an additional $7.50 in private investment occurred in the economy.

This program by the Connecticut Green Bank targets underserved low- and moderate-income households to install solar.  These homeowners would typically be rejected by traditional solar financing.  Since its launch in 2015 the program has seen the installation of 26.4 MW of solar capacity to more than 4000 households.  The Green Bank estimates these individuals saved $500/year on average on their electricity bills from this solar and the included efficiency measures.

Green banks currently exist in more than 14 cities and states across the country and have supported nearly $7 billion in investment in clean energy projects in their states and local communities, and much of this investment has been targeted toward low- and moderate-income households and communities. View a list of projects that have been supported by already existing state and local green banks.

 

 

Barker Specialty, Premium Promotional Product Provider, Goes Solar

Barker Specialty in Cheshire brings solar to 55 Realty Drive property through C-PACE financing

 

Hartford, CT (May 5, 2021) – The Connecticut Green Bank proudly announces that 55 Realty Drive in Cheshire has closed on Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing for the installation of a rooftop solar photovoltaic system. The 26,458-square foot office building is owned by sibling partners Amy, Gerald, Adrienne and Steven Barker, and is home to six tenants, including Barker Specialty Advertising Co. Inc.

“Barker Specialty is committed to help build a sustainable future for our community and planet. We mitigate our carbon footprint through environmentally conscious actions, and partner with suppliers who responsibly source products and materials,” said Gerry Barker, President of Barker Specialty. “Adding solar to our property helps us take another step to our goals.”

The 102.4 kW solar system will be installed by Verogy, a solar developer headquartered in Hartford. The system is projected to produce energy savings equal to the energy used by 212 homes in a year and gross total cost savings of more than $730,000 over the 25-year effective useful life of the panels.

“To reach our goal of continuous reduction of our carbon footprint, we have looked inward to what we could control through business operations and culture. This project is a giant leap towards showing how our buildings can also be a part of the solution,” said Jane Leukart, Director of Sustainability at Barker Specialty.

Barker Specialty has been the one-stop source for all promotional and marketing needs for over 70 years. Barker is a service oriented, innovative promotional marketing agency, specializing in promotional products, logoed merchandise, apparel, premium gifts, awards, tradeshow displays and signage.

“We are always excited to see businesses using C-PACE financing to advance their sustainability plans,” said Mackey Dykes, Vice President of Financing Programs at the Green Bank. “The installation of solar systems is a great way to reduce costs and improve the environmental footprint of a building.”

For more information on C-PACE please visit www.cpace.com.

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Green Liberty Bonds $25 Million Second Issuance Sells Out

Connecticut Green Bank’s lower-dollar denomination bond received strong support from individual buyers in Connecticut and across the country as well as from institutional buyers

 

Hartford, CT (April 23, 2021) – In celebration of the 51st Earth Day, the Connecticut Green Bank issued its second Green Liberty Bonds to retail and institutional investors, and sold out of nearly $25 million in bonds over two days. This builds upon a successful, award-winning 2020 issuance which sold nearly $17 million of bonds last July. With nearly $100 million in orders, demand this year was again greater than the supply of bonds could satisfy, showing the high-level of interest in supporting investment to confront climate change in Connecticut.

Retail investors were given priority during a one-day retail order period on Wednesday, April 21. Total retail orders received during this order period surpassed $20 million. With first priority given to Connecticut citizen investors, their orders for nearly $12 million of bonds were filled before approximately $9 million from national orders.  Institutional orders topped $77 million.

“The demand for the Earth Day 2021 issuance of the Green Liberty Bonds was so strong, that we had nearly four times as much demand as we had available. We saw incredible demand from retail investors in Connecticut and across the country, and enthusiastic institutional investors seeking to invest in confronting climate change in Connecticut,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Green Bank.

Individuals accounted for 57% of the retail orders with the balance from professionally managed retail accounts such as private wealth managers and bank trusts.

Institutional investors were able to place orders on April 22, and there was strong interest from a variety of traditional municipal investors and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investors attracted by the issuance’s strong climate bonds certification standards. The overall interest cost dropped to 2.42% from the 2.61% achieved for the inaugural bonds issued last July, notwithstanding a significant rise in longer term interest rates.

“In two years, the Green Bank has issued more than $80 million in verified climate bonds to support residential solar PV and energy efficiency in Connecticut. The overwhelming response by investors to our latest bond offering as well as the pricing achieved signifies broad acceptance of the Connecticut Green Bank as an issuer,” noted Bert Hunter, the Green Bank’s Chief Investment Officer.

The use of proceeds from this issuance supports incentives for nearly 7,000 households and 60 megawatts of residential solar photovoltaic systems, totaling nearly $220 million of investment in projects in 165 cities and towns across the state, which created over 2,100 jobs.

The Green Liberty Bonds were created in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day – a type of green bond whose proceeds are used to invest in projects that confront climate change in Connecticut. Modelled after the Series-E War Bonds of the 1940s, the bonds must be able to be purchased by everyday citizens through lower-dollar denominations (no more than $1,000), enabling them to invest in green projects in their community and to save for the planet.

To offer the Green Liberty Bonds, the Green Bank worked with Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc. as lead underwriter, Ramirez & Co., Inc. as co-underwriter, Shipman & Goodwin LLP as bond counsel, Lamont Financial Services Corporation as financial advisor, and Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A. as trustee. The Green Liberty Bonds, state supported using a special capital reserve fund, received an A rating from Standard and Poor’s. They were labeled as “Certified Climate Bonds” by the Climate Bonds Initiative, and compliance of the bond’s issuance with the Climate Bonds Standards was verified by Kestrel Verifiers. Support from the staffs of the Office of the State Treasurer and of the Office of Policy and Management was also instrumental.

“The Green Liberty Bonds were a huge success with the investor community. Investors liked the credit and were also attracted by the opportunity to invest in Certified Climate Bonds,” said Eric McKean, Managing Director of Stifel.

Encouraged by these first two issuances, the Green Bank anticipates offering Green Liberty Bonds annually around Earth Day. To stay informed about future issuances, please sign up for notifications at www.greenlibertybonds.com.

 

 

Disclaimer

This press release does not constitute a recommendation or an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other financial instrument, including Green Liberty Bonds, or to adopt any investment strategy. Any offer or solicitation with respect to Green Liberty Bonds will be made solely by means of the Preliminary Official Statement and Official Statement, which will describe the actual terms and conditions of the Green Liberty Bonds. The information provided is subject in all respects to the information presented in the complete Preliminary Official Statement prepared in connection with Green Liberty Bonds. Any investment decisions regarding any of the Green Liberty Bonds should only be made after a careful review of the complete Preliminary Official Statement.

 

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Solar MAP Guides Municipalities Through Solar Procurement Process for Public Buildings

Manchester, Mansfield, Portland, and Woodbridge are first to use Connecticut Green Bank Solar Marketplace Assistance Program

 

Rocky Hill, CT (March 9, 2021) – The Connecticut Green Bank is pleased to announce that Manchester, Mansfield, Portland, and Woodbridge are the first municipalities to take advantage of its Solar Marketplace Assistance Program, or Solar MAP. Solar MAP helps towns and cities navigate the process of going solar, more easily accessing renewable energy and achieving energy savings in their buildings. The process is allowing these towns to realize all the cost-saving benefits of going solar while receiving support in every step of the process, from identifying viable sites to soliciting installation services and arranging financing. In total, 14 solar system installations will be completed in these municipalities, accounting for 3.2 megawatts of energy generation, with $3.6 million in estimated total savings.

“We understand that the process of going solar can be challenging for municipal leaders and volunteers, so we designed Solar MAP to reduce obstacles for motivated towns and cities,” said Mackey Dykes, Vice President of Financing Programs. “We are excited to move forward with these municipalities, delivering cost savings when they need them most while also reducing their impact on the environment. We are eager to support more communities and are actively seeking participants for our next round of Solar MAP.”

To complete the installation of these solar systems, the Green Bank selected Greenskies Clean Energy, a national solar developer with headquarters in North Haven, as the winner of a competitive bid process. By aggregating multiple solar PV systems across participating municipalities in its solicitation for solar developers, the Green Bank was able to achieve competitive pricing through economies of scale, realizing even greater savings for the municipalities.

“Thanks to Solar MAP, we had the opportunity to bid on projects that may have never been developed otherwise. We are delighted to partner with the Green Bank and proud to work with these municipal leaders across the state to add more solar to the grid,” commented Stanley Chin, Greenskies president and CEO.

To support Solar MAP, the Green Bank partnered with CSW Energy, who was chosen through a competitive process, to provide technical support to evaluate buildings, such as town halls, emergency services buildings, and schools, for their solar potential. The Green Bank then provides financing for the solar systems through a power purchase agreement (PPA). Since 2014, the Green Bank Solar PPA has facilitated the installation of solar on municipal buildings with no upfront installation costs, no new debt to incur, and no operations and maintenance costs. Through the PPA, the municipality purchases the electricity generated by the solar array, and locks in low electricity cost so the cash flow is positive in year one.

Municipal leaders interested in learning about Solar MAP and participation in the next round of the program are encouraged to contact the Green Bank. In addition to working with trustworthy partners, Solar MAP ensures competitive pricing and support throughout the process.

If you want your town to participate in Solar MAP, ask your elected officials to contact the Green Bank. For more information, please visit https://www.ctgreenbank.com/solarmap-townsandcities/ or contact Emily Basham.

 Quotes from Participating Municipal Leaders

“Solar MAP was an easy and efficient way for the Town of Manchester to look at all of our sites and uncover energy savings. While we are very focused on our sustainability, it would have been much more difficult to identify and develop solar projects at nine town locations without the Solar MAP and our trusted partnership with Connecticut Green Bank,” said Manchester Mayor Jay Moran.

“Solar MAP simplified the process of going solar by connecting us with a trustworthy and knowledgeable partner in the Green Bank, who provided us the information we needed to confidently make decisions. The Green Bank identified solar opportunities at town sites, assisted us by connecting us with a qualified solar contractor and helped us access attractive financing,” said Portland First Selectwoman Susan Bransfield.

 

Communications Tower in Bolton First Known in U.S. to Use C-PACE Financing to Install Solar Array

Environmentally-conscious tower owner Marcus Communications will benefit from significant energy savings

Rocky Hill, CT (Dec. 14, 2020) – The Connecticut Green Bank is pleased to announce the closing of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing for the installation of a ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) system at a 450-foot telecommunications tower owned by Marcus Communications LLC. Located in Bolton, the tower and support equipment provide communication services, including emergency services, to a wide array of customers and clients. This is the first time that C-PACE has been used to finance a project at a communications tower in the United States, according to PACENation, a national nonprofit association that advocates for PACE financing

“As the first use of PACE on a communications tower, this innovative project is a model for how PACE can be used to increase the sustainability of our critical infrastructure. We applaud the work of the Green Bank in completing this project and look forward to seeing more deals like this one,” said Colin Bishopp, Executive Director of PACENation.

The tower was originally constructed in 1995 and extended in 2005, going from a 300-ft to 450-ft, to become the tallest tower in Eastern Connecticut. In recent years, leaders at Marcus Communications have begun an initiative at their office to minimize the company’s impact on the environment through improvements such as installing energy efficient lighting, solar panels, heating and cooling systems, and by providing free electric vehicle charging to employees, vendors and customers.

“We continue to be proactive in our efforts to be environmentally responsible and actively pursue solutions and enhancements that support that vision,” said Bruce Marcus, CTO, Marcus Communications LLC. “This solar project is a great example. We are proud of the work we are doing to move the world towards renewable energy.”

The 76 kW-AC solar PV system will be installed by Marcus Communications with guidance from Harness the Sun LLC of Lebanon. The project is estimated to save the company more than $740,000, over the 25-year effective useful life of the panels. The total project cost is approximately $250,000.

“It’s exciting to see new types of properties taking advantage of C-PACE financing to improve their energy efficiency or add renewables,” said Mackey Dykes, Vice President of Financing Programs at the Connecticut Green Bank. “We hope that other communications companies follow the example that the team at Marcus has set.”

To see a video of the installation, please visit https://youtu.be/AXQT–XNxec

About the Connecticut Green Bank

The Connecticut Green Bank was established by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2011 as the nation’s first green bank. The Green Bank’s mission is to confront climate change and provide all of society a healthier, more prosperous future by increasing and accelerating the flow of private capital into markets that energize the green economy. This is accomplished by leveraging limited public resources to scale-up and mobilize private capital investment into Connecticut. In 2017, the Connecticut Green Bank received the Innovations in American Government Award from the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and innovation for their “Sparking the Green Bank Movement” entry. For more information about the Connecticut Green Bank, please visit www.ctgreenbank.com

About Marcus Communications

Marcus Communications was founded in 1969 in Connecticut by owner, CTO, and LMR industry innovator Bruce Marcus. While the technology from 1969 to today has changed completely, our core mission remains the same. We manage your communications with an innovative array of technical solutions. Over the years, we’ve helped thousands of customers achieve better safety and efficiency by supercharging their communications. When you choose Marcus, you’re not choosing just any communications company. Your choosing the premiere leader in communications. Your choosing a company that hires veterans and gives back to the community, supporting events like the Hartford Marathon or the Special Olympics. You’re choosing the leaders who work tirelessly to research and develop cutting-edge solutions for its customers. To learn more, please visit https://www.marcuscommunications.com/.

Connecticut Green Bank Sells Four Solar Projects to Inclusive Prosperity Capital, Announces Debt Facility

Two schools, an Islamic community center and a Boys and Girls Club will benefit from the reduced energy costs provided by the solar systems

Rocky Hill, CT (Dec. 3, 2020) – The Connecticut Green Bank announces the acquisition of four solar power purchase agreement (PPA) projects by Inclusive Prosperity Capital (IPC) as well as the closing of a debt facility designed to help IPC continue its management and growth of the Green Bank’s PPA portfolio in Connecticut.

“IPC will be one of our key partners in continuing to serve the Connecticut solar market and expand upon the success the Connecticut Green Bank has had in creatively de-risking projects to provide access to previously underserved solar customers,” said Bert Hunter, Chief Investment Officer at Connecticut Green Bank. “This transaction continues to exemplify the Green Bank model of leveraging limited public dollars to mobilize private investment.”

Created in 2018 as a spin out of the Connecticut Green Bank, IPC is a mission-driven specialty finance organization working at the intersection of community development, clean energy finance, and climate impact. In Connecticut, they partner with  the Green Bank on a number of programs including the solar PPA, which focuses on delivering energy savings to a variety of customers, like commercial properties, houses of worship, affordable multifamily, and non-profits.

The solar projects sold to IPC include installations on two schools, an Islamic community center and a Boys and Girls Club. The projects total 495 kW and are anticipated to save the customers approximately $20,000 in their first year of operation.  These solar customers are:

  • Boys and Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley, Shelton, 127 kW Rooftop Project
  • Bridgeport Islamic Community Center, Bridgeport, 75 kW Rooftop Project
  • The Country School, Madison, 107 kW Rooftop Project
  • Washington Montessori School, New Preston, 186 kW Rooftop Project

“The Country School’s solar project has had a catalytic effect. Not only have our students, as future leaders, seen the benefits of renewable energy but so too have their families, as they install solar at their homes and businesses, recognizing the short-term and long-term benefits for the country and the world. While our utility costs have already decreased, the greatest benefit is how excited our students have been, knowing that they have had a hand in this project. Connecticut Green Bank has been a great partner throughout the experience. We only wish we had more roofs for them,” said Head of School John Fixx.

“Our goal for adding solar to our Shelton facility was two-fold. First to be good stewards for our environment and second to reduce our operating expenses. By working with Encon and the Connecticut Green Bank, our club was able to reduce our carbon footprint, set a good example for our Club kids and reduce our monthly electric bill with no money out of pocket for the installation” says Shaye Roscoe, Chief Executive Officer of The Boys & Girls Club of The Lower Naugatuck Valley.

Learn more about the solar PPA at https://www.ctgreenbank.com/programs/building-owners/green-bank-solar-ppa/.

About the Connecticut Green Bank

The Connecticut Green Bank was established by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2011 as the nation’s first green bank. The Green Bank’s mission is to confront climate change and provide all of society a healthier, more prosperous future by increasing and accelerating the flow of private capital into markets that energize the green economy. This is accomplished by leveraging limited public resources to scale-up and mobilize private capital investment into Connecticut. In 2017, the Connecticut Green Bank received the Innovations in American Government Award from the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and innovation for their “Sparking the Green Bank Movement” entry. For more information about the Connecticut Green Bank, please visit www.ctgreenbank.com

About Inclusive Prosperity Capital:

Inclusive Prosperity Capital, Inc. (“IPC”) is a not-for-profit investment fund scaling clean energy financing solutions that channels investment capital to program partners in communities that need it most. As a spin-out and strategic partner of the Connecticut Green Bank, IPC is focused on scaling its work in Connecticut and expanding its successful model nationwide by accessing mission-driven capital and partnerships. IPC operates at the intersection of community development, clean energy finance, and climate impact. We believe everyone should have access to the benefits of clean energy, helping to deliver Inclusive Prosperity.

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Connecticut’s Energy and Transportation Costs are Unaffordable for Many Households, Especially the Most Vulnerable

New report shows gap between what Connecticut families are paying for energy and transportation and what is affordable, creating a cost burden for lower income households

Rocky Hill, CT (Dec. 1, 2020) – According to a recently released report, combined spending on energy, transportation, and housing in Connecticut households exceeds affordable levels in areas throughout the state. On average, these costs are 49% statewide, which is above the 45% threshold for affordability. Low- and moderate-income households are burdened at a higher rate – 68% – than wealthier residents because these costs consume a larger portion of their household income.

These findings are from “Mapping Household Energy and Transportation Affordability in Connecticut,” a study produced by VEIC on behalf of the Connecticut Green Bank and Operation Fuel. The report was partially funded by a U.S. Department of Energy grant for research into strategies for improving access to solar for low-income communities. The Connecticut Green Bank, in partnership with the Clean Energy States Alliance, the grant’s managing organization, has been exploring energy’s intersection with other low-income household burdens.

The study focused on spending in three categories: building energy (household heating fuel and electricity); transportation (vehicle fuel, transit costs, and vehicle ownership costs); and housing (total shelter costs, insurance, taxes, fees, etc.). Examining these categories, VEIC was able to determine the cost burden, household spending expressed as a percentage of annual income, and the affordability gap, which is the difference between an affordable level of spending and actual dollars spent.

“We know that Connecticut is among the states with the highest energy costs in the nation. When you combine this expense with high transportation and housing costs, it can be crippling for a low-income household. While over 430,000 households in Connecticut meet the eligibility requirements for energy bill assistance, only 18.7% are served through available funding. We need more comprehensive and sustainable solutions to help low-income families in Connecticut afford their energy costs,” said Brenda Watson, Executive Director of Operation Fuel and member of the Board of Directors of the Green Bank.

Other key findings include:

  • Energy burden is highest among low-income households: 6-7 times higher.
  • High energy burdens are clustered in urban areas such as New Haven, Hartford, and Bridgeport.
  • The combination of efficiency and solar can help close the building energy affordability gap for most households in the state that own their dwelling, dramatically reducing annual energy costs.
  • Fewer options are available to renting households, although existing programs, like Energize CT’s Home Energy Solutions do substantially reduce building energy burden.
  • While Connecticut has multiple programs available to low-income customers to help them better afford their utility bills, these programs on their own lack sufficient funding to meet all the needs of customers.
  • Transportation costs are high not just in urban centers, but across the entire state
  • Reducing transportation costs is crucial to preserving affordability
  • Inadequate public and shared transport options result in a personal vehicle needed almost everywhere for an acceptable level of mobility

The report sits at the intersection of many current issues brought to the forefront in 2020, including increased energy usage as people are sheltering in place, greater focus on indoor air quality issues, and the way these factors disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income residents.

The report points out that existing resources are not enough to cover energy needs for the most vulnerable. The Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (“CEAP”) provides direct bill assistance to households earning <60% of state median income. The CEAP program budget is approximately $88 million, which is only sufficient to serve roughly 20% of the 430,825 eligible households in the state. Both of the state’s investor-owned utilities also offer matching payment and arrearage forgiveness programs. In 2019 these programs served nearly 19,000 customers but only 58% successfully completed the program.

A bright spot was VEIC’s finding that programs that combine energy efficiency and solar can close the building energy affordability gap for many low- and moderate-income households who are homeowners. Customers that participated in the Solar For All program from PosiGen and the Connecticut Green Bank in 2019 are estimated to have saved an average of $1,315 on their energy costs.

“There are a number of promising, transformative opportunities to reduce energy burdens in Connecticut,” said Justine Sears, Consultant at VEIC. “For instance, working to make the transportation system more equitable and accessible in urban, suburban, and rural areas would significantly reduce transportation burdens for people – especially low-income households.” To address the transportation issues identified in the report, VEIC recommends strategies to minimize the need for and use of private vehicles by increasing public transit, and promoting electric vehicles and e-bikes, which offer fuel savings over gasoline-powered vehicles.

To access the full report, please visit: https://www.ctgreenbank.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Mapping-Household-Energy-and-Transportation-Affordability-Report-Oct-2020.pdf

To join an informational webinar detailing the report on Thursday, Dec. 17 at 1 pm EST, register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6590608348170594317

About the Connecticut Green Bank

The Connecticut Green Bank was established by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2011 as the nation’s first green bank. The Green Bank’s mission is to confront climate change and provide all of society a healthier, more prosperous future by increasing and accelerating the flow of private capital into markets that energize the green economy. This is accomplished by leveraging limited public resources to scale-up and mobilize private capital investment into Connecticut. In 2017, the Connecticut Green Bank received the Innovations in American Government Award from the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and innovation for their “Sparking the Green Bank Movement” entry. For more information about the Connecticut Green Bank, please visit www.ctgreenbank.com

 About Operation Fuel

Operation Fuel was founded in 1977 after a worldwide oil embargo caused an unprecedented escalation in the price of home heating. Although federal and state governments had developed energy assistance programs for families experiencing poverty, low-income working families who were not eligible for government help and in crisis were left out in the cold.

To address the crisis in Connecticut, a collaboration among religious communities, industry leaders in banking, insurance, and utilities, Father Thomas Lynch, and Governor Ella Grasso created Operation Fuel, intended to provide relief for residents who fell through the gaps of government assistance programs. Our mission, is to ensure equitable access to energy for all by providing year-round energy and utility assistance, promoting energy independence, and advocating for affordable energy

About VEIC

VEIC is a sustainable energy company on a mission to generate the energy solutions the world needs. For over 30 years VEIC has been working with governments, utilities, foundations and businesses across North America to develop and deploy clean energy services that provide immediate and lasting change. With expertise in energy efficiency, building and transportation electrification, and new approaches for a clean and flexible grid, VEIC brings innovative solutions to the market. VEIC is nationally recognized for developing pilots and programs that optimize energy use, reduce energy burdens for low-income customers, and advance new technologies. In addition to our full-service consulting business, VEIC administers three large-scale sustainable energy programs: Efficiency Vermont, Efficiency Smart, and the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU). www.veic.org.   

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Green Liberty Bond Named Bond Buyer Deal of the Year Finalist as the Winner in Innovative Financing Category

November 10, 2020 — The Bond Buyer announced yesterday that the Connecticut Green Bank is among the recipients of its annual Deal of the Year awards as the winner in the Innovative Financing category for their 2020 Green Liberty Bond issuance.

For the second straight year, The Bond Buyer has named winners in 10 categories: five awards in our regional areas of coverage, along with five in additional categories. All award winners are also finalists for the national Deal of the Year Award, which will be announced at a virtual event to be held Dec. 16. This is the 19th year that The Bond Buyer has recognized outstanding achievement in municipal finance.

“This year’s lineup reflects the full range of communities and public purposes this market comprises,” said Mike Scarchilli, Editor in Chief of The Bond Buyer. “The deals honored exemplify the creativity and resourcefulness this industry brings to bear on projects that advance the infrastructure and quality of life in the nation’s municipalities. These qualities take on additional importance here in 2020, as issuers across the nation face unprecedented challenges.”

The Bond Buyer’s editorial board considered a range of factors when judging entries, including: creativity, the ability to pull a complex transaction together under challenging conditions, the ability to serve as a model for other financings, and the public purpose for which a deal’s proceeds were used.

“We are very excited and honored to be recognized by The Bond Buyer in the Innovative Financing category for 2020,” said Lonnie Reed, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Green Bank. “Issuing our first Green Liberty Bond during the COVID-19 pandemic presented unique challenges, however, the response from retail investors in Connecticut and across the country was incredibly positive. The desire to invest in Green Liberty Bonds is strong because it is both great for the environment and great for the green energy economy.”

The Connecticut Green Bank’s $16.8 million issuance of “Green Liberty Bonds” is this year’s Innovative Financing winner. Modeled after the Series-E War Bonds of the 1940s, this new sub-category of green bonds is sold in maximum denominations of $1,000, making them accessible to everyday citizens and retail investors.

To see all the finalists, please visit The Bond Buyer’s announcement.