Shortly after concluding their most recent campaign, researchers working on the Yale SEEDS II project, which is studying solar diffusion in low- and moderate-income communities, were excited to begin a new collaboration, called “ConnectSun.” This project—a partnership between the Connecticut Green Bank, United Illuminating (UI), and ENCON—is designed to promote solar growth in areas where targeted outreach could significantly relieve strain on the electric grid.
ConnectSun officially launched at Pequot Library Auditorium in Southport on September 25. The event convened the program’s three collaborators alongside suppliers of related technologies, like solar panels and energy storage. Flyers, brochures, and booklets were distributed to clarify the role played by each collaborator and to explore the technologies available that might help achieve the campaign’s goals. Ultimately, ConnectSun has the potential to bring financial benefits to customers who participate in the program while supporting the development of a cleaner and more resilient electric grid in Connecticut.
Here’s how it works: residents in the Town of Fairfield who are on one of two specific electric circuits provided by United Illuminating (circuits 2660 and 2670) can save up to 25 percent on up-to-date solar and battery technologies compared to traditional solar installation costs.
In addition, on top of any net metering payments provided for supplying energy back to the grid, homeowners can get extra money for producing clean energy for their own use and thus reducing strain on the grid; for five years United Illuminating will give ConnectSun customers a supplemental bill credit of $0.05/kWh for power that is generated from June 1 through September 30 during defined peak usage periods.
In tandem with this payment, the Connecticut Green Bank is offering these ConnectSun customers a reimbursement of up to $500 for system metering equipment that tracks energy production. The Bank will also offer an exclusive battery storage incentive to customers.
Finally, ENCON, a full-service commercial and residential heating, air conditioning and energy solutions provider, will assist program participants as they join ConnectSun and select the solar system that best meets their needs. (ENCON was chosen through a competitive selection process led by Connecticut Green Bank.)
With ConnectSun, the Fairfield community will hopefully be able to enjoy more resilient and responsive grid conditions, perhaps even during power outages, and support a cleaner environment by reducing power plant emissions.
Through ongoing communication with all involved in ConnectSun, the Yale SEEDS II team expects to incorporate relevant findings from the ConnectSun program into its research on solar energy diffusion. Understanding how the roll-out of this program affects the resiliency and cost of providing the grid in Connecticut, for instance, will be an interesting new angle to consider in the context of SEEDS II.
To learn more about the ConnectSun program, please visit: EnergizeCT.com/ConnectSun or call 203-345-0200.