SolarConn Week Ahead 190218 (Labor hearing; voltvar update)

Updated: Apr 22, 2019

  1. FEB21 Energy & Technology (ET) Committee Public Hearing

  2. FEB21 LABOR Committee Public Hearing

  3. Gear up for MAR5 ET Committee Public Hearing

  4. Lawmaker Meetings

  5. UPDATE - Voltage Variation Exemption

First, thanks to SolarConn board member Noel Lafayette (SHR) for spending a half day in Hartford last week speaking with lawmakers on a bill being heard in the Planning & Development Committee "REQUIRE P&Z APPROVAL OF CERTAIN SOLAR FACILITIES." Testimony submitted by Noel and board member James Schwartz (Independence Solar) can be viewed here.

Two public hearing of interest this week. All hearings are held at the CT Legislative Office Building (LOB). Directions here Free parking available in the two ground level/underground lots around the back of the LOB. 

The February 21 ET Committee public hearing will start at 10:00 AM in Room 1B of the Legislative Office Building (LOB) in Hartford. This Energy hearing is the first of three, perhaps as many as five public hearings where solar business owners and their staff may speak directly to lawmakers about legislation impacting solar in Connecticut. Feb21 topics include:

  • Commercial project NEM credits for host municipalities (working to get this bill removed from the agenda)

  • Siting solar on state land adjacent to highways

  • CT's Green New Deal

  • Energy Storage

See the Bill Tracker for the limited details available on these bills. Storage supporters, this is your time to speak up. But overall, no need for a major show of force from solar workers at the Feb21 hearing. I will testify in person. Your written testimony in support of these bills will do. Please consider taking an hour to email the committee (Dear Members of the Energy & Technology Committee) your views. We must leverage our strength, our numbers, to counter the voices of the many utility lobbyists roaming the LOB hallways. List the number/name of the bills you comment on. Draft a couple paragraphs, sign and date, and email Energy Committee testimony here:

The February 21 Labor Committee public hearing (2:30pm RM 2C) will include HB-6630 "AA REQUIRING INDIVIDUALS WHO INSTALL SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEMS TO COMPLETE AN ELECTRICIAN APPRENTICESHIP." Members are encouraged to read the brief description and reply to this email with their concerns and suggestions for adding context to the bill. A couple paragraphs of testimony should be emailed to or sent to me and I'll review and submit.

The March 5 ET Committee Public Hearing will be a major event where our members must weigh in. No agenda out yet, but I'm told bills speaking to the following issues will be heard:

  • RSIP extension

  • ZREC extension

  • VNM/Community solar expansion

  • Maxing out solar on rooftops (no limits based on single meter)

  • Value of solar study

  • Property owners Right to Self-Generate

I'd like to have 100 or more solar workers in the building on March 5. I'm coordinating a rotation of hearing speakers, back-to-back, to run through our legislative agenda at this hearing. Having the room packed with solar workers will send the right message. Please, begin to make ready for getting workers to be in Hartford for a good part of the day March 5. I will make appeals to members to testify on various issues. If you wish to speak let me know now.

Meetings with lawmakers are moving ahead. I'm again sending the list of ET committee members and the towns they represent. I need to hear much more from members on the towns their workers live/work in so I can cross reference with state lawmakers who need to hear from us. Using this link, simply enter the number of workers at your company that live/work in these towns. Thanks to the companies that have already done so.

I've already arranged several meetings involving our members including:

  • Lt Gov. Bysiewicz

  • Danbury area members met with ET House Chairman Rep. Arcionti (Danbury) Feb15

  • Feb19 Commercial members meet with Sen. Osten on SB-220 SOLAR FACILITY NET METERING CREDITS FOR HOST MUNICIPALITIES.

  • March 6 meeting with DEEP Commissioner Dykes

  • March 7 meeting (TENT) with ET Committee chair Sen. Norm Needleman

The CT PURA makes a final decision on March 13 on SolarConn’s request to amend Conn. Agencies Regs. §16-11-115(a) to raise the upper voltage bound, from +3% to +5% above standard voltage in accordance with current ANSI c84-1. Developers though DO NOT have to wait for the March 13 final decision. PURA has given an exemption to the upper voltage bound until such a time as the regulation has been formally amended. If either EDC is blocking your project from moving ahead until the March 13 final decision please contact me.

These are all critical issues. Time for you and your workers to get involved.

Michael Trahan Executive Director SolarConnecticut "Connecticut's Solar Industry Group Since 2007" P.O. Box 515 Higganum, CT 06441 860-256-1698

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