On November 8, more than 120 residential and commercial contractors from the solar, HVAC, energy efficiency and other green industries gathered in Rocky Hill to attend presentations on topics designed to enhance their businesses over the coming years.
The plenary session focused on emerging opportunities in the State’s proposed new Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES) and featured Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the Green Bank, Mary Sotos, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Pat McDonnell, Senior Director of Conservation and Load Management, United Illuminating, Ron Araujo, Manager of Energy Efficiency, Eversource, and Lee Hoffman of Pullman & Comley, LLC.
Some breakout sessions offered deeper insight into the specifics of the CES, such as the new framework for solar and the strategic electrification of buildings and transportation. Other sessions focused on: opportunities in under-served communities; technologies for optimizing and meeting building energy loads; and incentives and financing for multifamily housing retrofits and new construction.
The Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU) has partnered with Current powered by GE, SunLight Solar Energy and Connecticut Green Bank to install solar energy systems at three campuses in order to reduce energy consumption and decrease operating expenses. Construction is anticipated to begin at Manchester and Middlesex Community Colleges as well as Southern CT State University in early 2018 with the goal of extending to other campuses including Central, Housatonic, Asnuntuck, Quinebaug, Tunxis and Western in the next two years. The solar energy initiative is funded entirely with private capital sourced by Connecticut Green Bank and once fully implemented is estimated to save CSCU more than $10 million within the first 20 years.
In September, the Connecticut Green Bank and Onyx Renewable Partners L.P. announced the Green Bank Solar PPA (power purchase agreement), a joint program that will provide funding for 15-20+ megawatts of commercial-scale solar projects in Connecticut. Under this partnership, Onyx will leverage its existing fund structure and relationships with Credit Suisse and future tax equity partners to capitalize and own solar photovoltaic projects originated by the Green Bank and local solar developers. This new Connecticut-specific allocation within Onyx’s larger commercial solar portfolio will build upon the success of the Green Bank’s Solar Lease 2 fund, which reached capacity earlier in 2017.
The new Green Bank Solar PPA fund will provide power purchase agreements to a broad range of property owners by making use of Connecticut’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) Program to allow unrated solar customers, including commercial, industrial, and non-profit property owners, to access financing alongside state agencies, housing authorities, municipalities, schools, and rated corporations. This innovative structure was pioneered under the Green Bank’s Solar Lease 2 program and has successfully opened the solar PPA market to customers traditionally excluded from solar financing.
The first projects are already well underway in Newtown and West Hartford. More can be found on these projects here.
In October, Representative Themis Klarides appointed Eric Brown to the Green Bank’s Board of Directors. Brown is senior counsel at the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA), a position he has held since 1994.
“The Connecticut Green Bank has demonstrated its commitment to using limited public funds to attract and mobilize private investment in clean energy, energy efficiency and Connecticut’s economy,” states Eric Brown, Senior Counsel at CBIA. “I am looking forward to serving on the Board of Directors to offer my perspective on accelerating private investment that creates jobs and makes Connecticut more economically competitive with respect to energy costs.”
At CBIA, Brown’s primary responsibilities include developing policy positions on energy, environment, land use, and manufacturing issues and advocating those positions before regulatory agencies and the state legislature. He also directs E2: CBIA’s Energy & Environment Council, a group of approximately 200 Connecticut companies that assist in developing and advocating public policy positions on environmental and energy issues. He is also the Chair of the Joint Committee of the Energy Efficiency Board and the Connecticut Green Bank.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Prize: Race to 7-Day Solar, a national competition intended to reduce the time it takes to “go solar” across the country, has ended, and the Connecticut Permit to Plug-in Challenge team was among the two final participants. While neither team was eligible for the grand prize, both teams made impressive progress and were given an award of distinction for their efforts.
The SunShot competition began in September 2015 with five competing teams across the country and concluded in March 2017. During the competition, three teams — Northern and Central California SunShot Alliance, Sunrun, and the Connecticut Permit to Plug-in Challenge — reached a major milestone in the competition and were each awarded $100,000 in seed prizes and received the title “SunShot Prize Change Champion.”
“While there was no winning team, it’s clear that the residents of Connecticut are the winners here,” said Connecticut Green Bank President and CEO Bryan Garcia. “Residents will continue to benefit from the lessons learned from the interaction between the utilities, solar contractors, municipalities and the Green Bank. We are proud to have been one of the final two teams striving towards such an important goal for the adoption of residential solar PV.”
The Green Bank’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program continues to help owners of diverse commercial properties make energy efficiency improvements to their buildings. Mixed-use properties can benefit as well as large manufacturing facilities.
For example, Waterbury property owner Michael Batista has used C-PACE for the second time to make upgrades to mixed-use properties. His two projects will improve energy efficiency, save money on energy costs, and reduce environmental impacts. Both projects were completed by M.J. Fahy & Sons Inc., a plumbing and heating contractor located in Waterbury.
Most recently, Batista used the C-PACE program to finance the energy improvements at his property at 1023 West Main St. in Waterbury. The property was converted from one that relied on an outdated oil burner to a system featuring seven individual gas fueled furnaces that more efficiently services four residential units and two commercial units. Over the duration of his 12-year loan, it is estimated the new system will save Batista and his tenants as much as $84,000 in energy costs.
On the other side of the coin, Metal Finishing Technologies (MFT) of Bristol is using C-PACE financing to implement energy conservation measures (ECM) that are projected to save the manufacturer nearly $2 million in energy costs over the effective useful life of the ECMs. MFT, which operates out of a 70,000 square foot facility, is a nationally recognized source of diversified metal finishing and surface preparation as well as a certified Federal Aviation Administration repair station servicing the automotive, marine, aerospace, medical, commercial and electrical industries since 1947.
To learn more about C-PACE, visit www.cpace.com.