Photo of Senator Winfield.

State Senator

Gary Winfield

Representing New Haven & West Haven

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Winfield and Connecticut Solar Companies Call for Veto of Republican Budget

Solar Companies have stated that cuts made in the recently-passed state budget will force them to slow, stop or reverse their job growth in Connecticut

photo of Senator Winfield.

Senator Winfield and representatives from Connecticut’s growing solar industry raised the alarm about damaging cuts made to Connecticut’s solar industry in the version of the state budget passed last week. The Republican budget slashes funding to the CT Green Bank. As Co-Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, Senator Winfield has worked with PosiGen, Aegis Solar, and other solar companies to expand access to green energy and encourage growth in the solar industry. In recent conversations with the leaders of Connecticut’s solar industry, Senator Winfield has become increasingly alarmed that the cuts made in the recently-passed state budget will result in lost job creation in one of the strongest-growing industries in the country, hurting possibilities for business expansions in Connecticut’s clean energy sector.

The Green Bank mobilized $1 billion total dollars into Connecticut’s clean energy economy using public-private partnerships. This has created 13,000 total jobs (job-years of activity), mostly with local energy improvement contractors. Over 220 megawatts of clean, renewable energy have been generated through these projects. If the Green Bank is de-funded, Connecticut will likely see a migration in contractor and project activity to other states.

The Republican budget, which passed last week, makes multiple cuts to the Connecticut Green Bank. The budget reduces funding for the Green Bank by $13 million in FY 18 and another $13 million in FY 19. It also diverts $10 million in RGGI Auction Proceeds, one of the key funding sources for the Green Bank, in FY 18, and another $10 million in FY19. This amounts to a net reduction of $46 million to clean energy and energy efficiency programs over the biennium.

“Promoting green energy is vital for both the health of our environment and our economy,” said Senator Winfield, Co-Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee. “These cuts threaten to halt the growth in this sector, which has been growing and creating good-paying jobs for Connecticut residents. I am very concerned that should these cuts be enacted, we will start to lose these jobs and potentially risk having the solar companies leave Connecticut for states that are more supportive of growing the green energy economy.”

“PosiGen has a unique approach to solar energy efficiency. We focus on low income home owners. We focus on people that have not had the ability to access solar and a lot of other energy efficiency programs in the past. We came to Connecticut solely because the Connecticut Green Bank Approached us and said we think that there’s an inequality In the state, and we want to make sure that all the families in Connecticut have access to solar energy efficiency,” said Tom Neyhart, CEO of PosiGen. “My concern is that a company like mine, which already has 45 employees here and is adding another 15 new employees and another location wouldn’t come to Connecticut without the Connecticut Green Bank. If the funding is cut back, we’re not sure we could continue that expansion.”

“Connecticut Green Bank has programs are what is driving the industry in Connecticut, which is a thriving and expanding renewable energy industry. These programs, were they threatened, would be a direct impact on my business. I wouldn’t be able to support the employees that we have now or the installations that we’re doing. So any threat to those funds would have a direct impact on the ability of my business to continue operation and conducting business in Connecticut,” said Chris Lenda, Owner and Founder Aegis Solar.

“I’m a commercial project manager for this company, so I get to see the local farmers, the manufacturers, the schools, the distributors who benefit from this. Not only do I benefit from it for having a job, but I also get to employ local subcontractors, like site developers or roofing companies who all benefit from putting solar on these local businesses. So not only does it affect local homeowners, it also helps our communities and our local businesses. I think it’s in our best interests to keep this money within the Connecticut Green Bank so they can keep doing what they’re doing. They’re doing a great thing for the State of Connecticut,” said Brandon Pizzoferrato of C-TEC Solar.

About the Connecticut Green Bank

The Connecticut Green Bank was established by the Connecticut General Assembly on July 1, 2011 as a part of Public Act 11-80. The Green Bank’s success in accelerating private investment in clean energy is helping Connecticut create jobs, increase economic prosperity, promote energy security and address climate change. 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” nomination. For more information about the Connecticut Green Bank, please visit www.ctgreenbank.com.

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