Help Bring Solar Power to Columbus House

by Matthew Moroney, New Haven Community Solar

New Haven Community Solar is a new kind of company. Our mission is to give community members an opportunity to invest directly in locally created environmental and social works projects. We present an alternative economic model using crowdfunding to form energy cooperatives that benefit nonprofits and build wealth in communities. Lack of corporate and political accountability led us to create a new form of active corporate ownership from the community. This empowers local leaders with alternative pathways to reduce inequality. We expand economic opportunities for vulnerable groups and accelerate a just clean energy transition by not waiting for corporations to act.

Our first project supplies clean, affordable energy to the formerly homeless with our community non-profit partner, Columbus House. Connecticut has the third-highest energy costs in the country (average of 17.3 cents per kilowatt hour). Installing solar panels for Columbus House steadies their electricity costs and frees up money to support their mission of providing services for homeless and at-risk individuals and families.

(The average residential electricity rate of 17.34¢/kWh in CT is 45.96% greater than the national average residential rate of 11.88¢/kWh. The approximate range of residential electricity rates in the U.S. is 8.37¢/kWh to 37.34¢/kWh. https://www.electricitylocal.com/states/connecticut.)

By investing instead of donating to renewable energy projects, funders have the potential to make a return from the sale of energy back to the grid. This return can be kept, donated to Columbus House, or invested back into building more community solar in New Haven. The investment period is almost over, so we invite the greater New Haven community to review our investment materials today to consider supporting the project at www.startengine.com/new-haven-community-solar.

Our initiative is ultimately a test to determine if crowd-sourced cooperatives can thrive as an alternative to current systems. We envision a future where community finance enables us to own our own futures. If the project succeeds, we will also be providing copies of our project and program documents to help guide other local leaders in creating their own crowdfunded community-owned projects.

For questions, contact Matthew Moroney at greenisagoodcolor@gmail.com.

Latest Articles from CT Green Energy News

News and events for advocates of clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate action at the state and local levels, focusing on Connecticut. Brought to you by People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) and Eastern CT Green Action.

  1. New gas pipelines: An expensive risk our ratepayers and environment can’t afford CT Mirror/Viewpoints: “We…need to ask ourselves if we need more gas pipelines at all, and if so, who should pay for them?”
  2. CT wind, fuel cell projects win long-term contracts Hartford Business Journal: “In all, the five projects total 252 megawatts of generating capacity, and are expected to produce 4.6 percent of the state’s annual energy consumption.”
  3. New England Talks Solar, Storage and Public Policy RTO Insider. “The grid modernization proceeding [Case 17-2-03] in Connecticut is a really promising opportunity.”
  4. New London port faces dynamic decade. The Day: “The city’s underutilized port should become a bustling industrial area servicing the explosive growth of green energy technology, a staging area for large wind farms developed offshore and feeding a hungry northeastern grid.”
    5. Regulator trims Eversource gas-rate request Hartford Business Journal: “It also allows for the replacement of leak-prone gas mains and credits customers with 100 percent of the tax savings the company received under the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, PURA said.”

Connecticut Sued for Using Clean Energy Funds to Fill Budget Gap

by Paula Panzarella, Fight the Hike

The state legislature’s attempt to raid $155 million from the clean energy and efficiency funds has met with strong resistance.

On May 15, with CT Fund for the Environment as the lead plaintiff, a lawsuit was filed in federal court in Hartford. Fight the Hike is one of twelve groups suing to get the funds restored for clean energy, conservation, and efficiency programs. These programs have helped Connecticut’s economy, improved health by lowering pollution from fossil fuels and resulted in lower costs for taxpayers. We demand their funding be fully restored!

These funds were for the energy programs that we have paid for through the surcharge fee on our United Illuminating and Eversource electric bills. The money was collected specifically to help consumers improve energy efficiency, take part in energy conservation programs, low-interest loans to help with solar panels, modernize furnaces, water heaters, etc.

Besides these programs helping consumers, they helped build up Connecticut’s economy. There are more than 34,000 people working in the energy-efficiency industry in Connecticut. It will be a staggering blow to these businesses and their employees if people cannot continue to have the assistance of these clean-energy programs.

The “Combined Public Benefits Charge” portion of our electric bill is how the Energy Efficiency Fund, CT Green Bank, and Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are funded. To bolster the General Fund, the state is planning on seizing $155 million that was collected and earmarked for clean energy and efficiency programs.

By crippling these programs, it’s estimated that more than 6,600 jobs will be lost in the next two years, $21 million in state tax revenue will be lost, tens of thousands of people will not be able to receive energy assessments, weatherization upgrades, energy efficiency programs, and financial assistance for low-income ratepayers. The case will be heard before the end of June for a ruling to be made to stop the planned seizure of funds on July 1.

In other news, the legislature failed to pass an important large-scale community solar bill that would have allowed for 300 megawatts of new solar power. They passed a bill that would sunset net metering, another blow to the growing clean energy industry. Net metering allows homeowners to be credited for solar energy produced by their home that exceeds their usage (like rollover minutes on a cell phone).