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Recent News Articles:

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Town Turning To Renewable Energy


CT Clean Energy Communities


Residential Solar PV Incentive Program


Join The Clean Power Circuit


Banner Year For Clean Air


At Wesleyan, Energy To Burn

Center Is Science Teacher's Dream

State To Boost Use Of `Green' Energy

‘Green power’ Plan Gets Green Light

Lawmakers, Rowland Back Tougher

Clean Air Measures


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November 22, 2005

Solar Connecticut - North

Solar Symposium

Wilde Auditorium

University of Hartford

West Hartford, CT

12:30 - 4:30

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Town Turning To Renewable Energy

Goal Of Program To Add Clean Sources To Grid

By Jesse Leavenworth
Courant Staff Writer

March 26 2005

CANTON -- The town is preparing to get power from renewable energy sources, joining a statewide effort to lessen reliance on fossil fuels.

By hooking into the Clean Energy Campaign, the town promises to get 20 percent of its municipal electricity from sources such as wind, solar and hydropower by 2010.

The program is part of the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, launched by the General Assembly in 1998 to invest in and promote clean energy technology.

Selectmen heard a presentation on the program at their meeting last week from Barbara Backman, vice president of People's Action for Clean Energy, an environmental group.

They agreed in principle to join, and are to vote on the issue at their next meeting.

Backman, a Canton resident, spoke to selectmen in support of the "20 percent by 2010" program. Under the plan, communities purchase "renewable energy certificates." The utility companies then buy clean power - which is added to the electricity grid.

Also, if 100 utility customers in town sign up to purchase renewable energy for their households or businesses, the town gets a free 1-kilowatt photovoltaic panel, Backman said. The panel would be installed on the roof of a public building to supply solar power, she said.

Based on recently passed state legislation, municipalities and individual customers of United Illuminating and Connecticut Light & Power may buy electricity from renewable sources if they're willing to pay the extra cost.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, a Cambridge, Mass.-based partnership of scientists and citizens, reports that 19 states, including Connecticut, have enacted regulations allowing consumers access to clean energy.

A report by the organization says that by 2017, those states alone would reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 65 million metric tons - equivalent to taking nearly 10 million cars off the road, or planting more than 15 million acres of trees, an area approximately the size of West Virginia.

Communities that have made the "20 by 2010" commitment include West Hartford, Portland, Milford, New Haven, Fairfield and Westport. West Hartford officials have calculated that the town will pay as little as $2,700 extra for the clean energy this year and $12,700 by 2010.

Copyright 2005, Hartford Courant



CT Clean Energy Communities

Under this program, which has been created by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and Smart Power, if both residents and local leaders play a part, cities and towns can earn a free solar photovoltaic system for a public building of their choice.


Qualifying for free solar is a simple three step process:

  1. A city or town joins the SmartPower 20% by 2010 Campaign.

  2. Early in 2005, residents in every city and town in Connecticut will be able to buy clean energy from their electric company (UI or CL&P).

  3. For every 100 clean energy electric customers who sign up, the community will receive a 1 kW solar array FREE from The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (a $10,000 value.) The system will be installed on any building the town chooses.

Click Here to view the PDF SmartPower 20% by 2010 Campaign Fact Sheet (.pdf)


Step one to join the 20% by 2010 Campaign is easy and simply asks local officials to embrace the goal of obtaining 20% of their municipal electricity from clean, renewable sources by the year 2010. Already large cities such as New Haven and smaller towns such as Portland have committed to 20% by 2010 and other municipalities are talking about the practical and relatively painless steps necessary to get involved. The implementation of the goal can be carried out over a number of years, and SmartPower and its collaborators Environment Northeast, Clean Water Fund and the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network are already assisting in this effort.


Step two will also be easy as residents of a 20% by 2010 community show their commitment and enthusiasm by selecting a clean energy product for their home electricity use when the option becomes available early in 2005.


If steps one and two happen, step three is automatic. For every 100 residents who sign up for clean energy, their 20% by 2010 city or town gets a 1 kW solar PV system for a public building. The community can also earn the free solar through total gigawatt-hours purchased or, for smaller communities, for signing up 10% of residents.


For more specifics and general information on the program, see the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund website or contact SmartPower at 860-249-7040.


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Residential Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Incentive Program

Effective: October 1, 2004


CCEF now offers rebates for Connecticut residents who install solar photovoltaic systems on their homes. The incentives are available only through participating installers that have been designated by CCEF.   Systems may be of any size but must be connected to the electric grid. The program offers an incentive of $5 per Watt (PTC rating) for the first 5kW of system and installation costs, with a maximum rebate of $25,000 per household.   Homes can be one to four family residences.  


CCEF has selected a group of professional solar PV installers.   These companies provide consumers with information and details of installing a residential solar PV system.   The installers apply for the incentive on behalf of state residents and reduce the cost of the solar PV system by the amount of the rebate. They are responsible for all the paperwork necessary to obtain the incentive from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund on behalf of state residents. to begin the process of applying for a rebate, contact some of the eligible installers listed in the attachment below.






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Join The Clean Power Circuit
November 19, 2004 - Hartford Courant

Portland has set a positive example for other towns by formally committing to buying 20 percent of its municipal power from clean sources by 2010.

The town joins New Haven and the state, which earlier this year each made the same 20 percent by 2010 commitment to purchase power from wind, solar, hydropower and similar non-polluting sources. Environmental activists are pushing other towns, including West Hartford, to join a growing movement behind renewable energy.

Portland selectmen voted 7-0 for a resolution noting the town's proximity to a "Sooty Six" power plant in Middletown. The measure also pointed out that 10,000 children and adults in Middlesex County suffer from asthma, which has been linked to dirty power plant emissions.

Portland will begin its clean energy purchases next year. Because renewable energy is an infant industry, the power costs slightly more. The town will pay a premium of roughly $7,000 in 2010 to heat, cool and light its buildings.

The innovative plan works like this: Portland will purchase so-called renewable energy certificates, which provide cash to help pay the cost of generating clean power, which is then added to the electricity grid.

Beginning early next year, the state's electricity customers will get a chance to join the movement by choosing a "green power" option.

As an incentive to local governments, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund will provide free solar photovoltaic power panels to towns that make the 20/10 commitment and where at least 100 residents sign up for the green power option.

During the past year, Connecticut has been in the forefront of efforts to hasten the switch from coal, oil and natural gas toward non-polluting sources. Harmful emissions have impaired residents' health and contributed to worsening global warming.


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Banner Year For Clean Air
May 11, 2004 - Hartford Courant

The American Lung Association recently gave every county in Connecticut an "F" for ozone pollution. Fairfield County was ranked 21st-worst in the nation.

With that dismal rating as a backdrop, the General Assembly in the final days of its recent session approved three key bills that, in time, will help make Connecticut's air cleaner and healthier.

Gov. John G. Rowland is expected to sign the measures, which will:

Require tougher auto emissions standards for new cars beginning with the 2008 model year.

Commit the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010 and an additional 10 percent by 2020.

Set efficiency standards for eight common commercial and residential products and appliances, including transformers, traffic signals and commercial clothes washers.

In addition, Gov. Rowland signed an executive order requiring the state to purchase 20 percent of its electricity from nonpolluting energy sources such as wind and solar power by 2010 and 100 percent by 2050.

Rarely has there been such broad and bipartisan support from the legislative and executive branches for bills designed to reduce harmful emissions.

The measures take on added importance because Connecticut's scandal-plagued auto emissions testing program was suspended on April 22 and its future is in limbo. Long term, the best solution is to produce cleaner-burning, more fuel-efficient cars in the first place.

Connecticut does not have sole control of the air its residents breathe. Pollution drifts here from coal-burning power plants in the Midwest. Several states are suing to force those utilities to install modern anti-pollution equipment.

Reducing air pollution is a slow process, but state lawmakers took important steps forward this year.

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At Wesleyan, Energy To Burn
May 6, 2004 - Hartford Courant

William Weir, Courant Staff Writer

Solar Power Helps Students Relax

MIDDLETOWN -- Sunshine always helps when it comes to events like "Spring Fling," Wesleyan University's end-of-the-year celebration. Wednesday's event was actually powered by it.

The Rolling Sunlight, a Greenpeace-owned truck attached to 256 square feet of solar panels, rolled onto the campus to supply some of the energy for the festivities, which included rap artist Ghostface Killah.

"Everyone's curious about what it is," Greenpeace member Maureen Cane said as a rock band performed on stage behind her. "It's the only one of its kind in the world that I know of."

The truck and its solar panels are on a 20-campus tour of the Northeast as a way to promote alternative energy. Besides supplying some of the power for the bands on stage, the Rolling Sunlight also powered a coffee machine and slushy maker.

Wesleyan student Dave Carhart organized the truck's appearance as a way to promote the cause of bringing cleaner energy to the university.

In 2001, Wesleyan officials agreed to purchase 10 percent of the university's energy from the Connecticut Energy Cooperative, a Hartford-based nonprofit organization. The energy came from hydrogen, methane and wind power. But the company went out of business, and Carhart's student group, Environmental Organizers Network, has since been trying to get the university to try clean energy again.

A university with the progressive reputation and resources of Wesleyan should lead the way in clean energy, Carhart said.

Amy Gomberg, a member of the network, said the group collected about 500 postcards from students supporting clean energy at the university. The postcards were used to build a small windmill, which was presented this week to Wesleyan President Douglas Bennet.

Marcia Bromberg, Wesleyan's vice president for finance and administration, said the university has been looking at a number of ways to make a more environmentally friendly campus. By fall of next year, the university should have a new dormitory that meets the U.S. Green Building Council's criteria for a "green," or environmentally friendly, building. About the same time, she said, the university also will have small housing units heated and cooled with groundwater.

And though there's been no commitment yet, university officials are looking into investing in green energy, she said. She credits some of the changes to the student group's contributions. "They're very earnest in all their work, and I commend them for all the knowledge they've brought forward," she said.


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Center Is Science Teacher's Dream
May 6, 2004 - Hartford Courant

Daniel P. Jones, Courant Staff Writer

GRANBY -- Nearly a decade of dreaming and three years of fund-raising have come to fruition with the completion of the Salmon Brook Ecology Center on the grounds of the high school and middle school.

The center, brainchild of middle school science teacher Bruce Boehm, will be dedicated in a ceremony for volunteers and donors May 13. Soon after, students from both the middle and high schools will attend classes in the center.

"This project demonstrates the power of a single great idea," said Trish Percival, chairwoman of the Granby Education Foundation. "That idea fueled the energy and passion of an entire community, and resulted in an incredible resource that is unique to Granby."

The $350,000 center was the first major fund-raising project for the foundation, a nonprofit volunteer organization founded in 2000 to raise money to enhance what the school district provides.

The foundation helped raise the money from large organizations such as the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, local and area businesses, and individuals.

The 1,500-square-foot building contains fish tanks and equipment for raising trout for release into the local streams, and a nursery for growing plants in water. The plants will be distributed throughout the community.

The design of the building incorporated environmentally friendly systems such as geothermal heat and state-of-the-art solar cells that harness the sun's energy and convert it into electricity.

Boehm said the systems are intended for teaching students and adults alike.

"We want to show people how these systems work," he said.

Another environmentally friendly feature of the center, Boehm said, is a system that ensures the water used in the fish tanks is returned to the soil in a cleaner condition than water that typically passes through a home septic system.

Middle and high school teachers already are planning to use the center. Math teachers, for example, want to use the fish tanks as examples of how to calculate the capacity of three-dimensional rectangular objects.

And art teachers are devising ways to incorporate the center's aquaculture into students' projects, said Bryan T. Morytko, spokesman for the education foundation.

Foundation leaders will turn the building over to the town and school district at the dedication ceremony, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on May 13. After the ceremony, the public will get a chance to see the new facility at 8 p.m.


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State To Boost Use Of 'Green' Energy
April 23, 2004 - Hartford Courant

Gov. John G. Rowland on Thursday announced the state will commit to buying 20 percent of its power from renewable resources by 2010, and implement conservation measures in state buildings designed to save enough to offset the additional cost of the "green" energy.

Advocates of renewable energy - power generated by wind, sun, water, landfill gas and fuel cells - hailed the order, saying it places Connecticut at the forefront of states supporting a cleaner environment through renewable energy purchases.

Rowland's order also sets goals of buying 50 percent of the state's power from renewable resources by 2020; and 100 percent by 2050. Currently, about 1 percent of the power supplied by the state's electric utilities comes from renewable energy sources. That is expected to increase by law to 7 percent by 2010.


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‘Green power’ plan gets green light
April 22, 2004 - New Haven Register

Maria Garriga, Register Staff


The state Department of Public Utility Control gave final approval Wednesday to a plan that will allow electricity customers to sign up for "green power" this year.

The move will allow customers to tell their electric company whether they want some of their energy supplied from environmentally friendly sources such as solar and wind power.

"It should happen within the next six months," said DPUC spokeswoman Beryl Lyons. "The more people that opt for this, the more green power there will be in Connecticut."

The plan will allow customers to order "green power" through their utilities, the United Illuminating Co. and the Connecticut Light & Power Co.

The utilities will use customer orders to determine the amount of power they buy from renewable energy sources.

The plan should encourage customers to choose "green power" by making it easier for them to do so, and encourage "green power" companies by showing them there is a market for their products in the state, said DPUC officials.

Customers can expect to pay more for "green power," but the exact amount has yet to be determined.

"Hopefully, this makes it easier for residents and towns to choose renewable energy sources," said Bryan Garcia, programs director at the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund in Rocky Hill, which is managed by Connecticut Innovations Inc., a quasi-public agency.

The DPUC’s decision creates three working groups that will design the marketing, bidding and compliance verification processes.

The groups must submit their recommendations to the DPUC by June 30.

The state’s last green power supplier, Green Mountain Energy Co., pulled out in January 2003. But the new plan may entice the company to try again in Connecticut, said John Holtz, a Green Mountain business development director.

Officials with the Austin, Texas-based company said they transferred its 1,312 customers back to CL&P and UI because state-regulated electricity prices made it too difficult for private electric companies to compete.

Green Mountain, which uses nine power plants that use solar energy and two that use wind energy, said it would not re-enter the market until state legislators develop regulations friendly to competition.

The company applauds the state’s new plan.

"Other states should be ‘green’ with envy over Connecticut’s ‘green power’ program design," Holtz said.

The plan would basically screen out potential "green" power suppliers through a bidding process that would narrow consumer options to two companies, he said.

"It’s a big risk for us. We will have to bid along with other suppliers," Holtz said.

Maria Garriga can be reached at or 789-5685.


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Lawmakers, Rowland back tougher clean air measures
April 22, 2004 - Hartford Courant
Associated Press

HARTFORD -- The state legislature and Gov. John G. Rowland backed proposals Thursday, Earth Day, aimed at reducing toxic emissions in Connecticut's air.

The House of Representatives approved legislation that will require the state to adopt California's tougher emissions regulations for cars, SUVs and light duty trucks by December 31. It has already passed the Senate.

The bill, which affects the 2008 model year, is expected to be signed into law by Rowland.

Meanwhile the governor announced he has signed an executive order requiring the state to purchase 20 percent of energy used for state buildings from nonpolluting sources by 2010.

The percentage would rise to 50 percent by 2020 and 100 percent by 2050, according to the executive order.

"The quickest path to cleaner air and reducing America's dependence on foreign oil is to increase demand for nonpolluting electric power made from cleaner, renewable sources such as wind, solar and fuel cell power," Rowland said.

No other state has set a goal of 100 percent clean energy use for all state buildings, according to Hartford-based SmartPower, a nonprofit marketing campaign promoting so-called clean energy.

"We commend this intelligent step towards supporting a healthier future," said Brooke Suter, executive director of the Connecticut Clean Water Fund and a SmartPower collaborator.

Environmental groups also hailed passage of the so-called clean cars legislation. It requires automakers to sell an increasing percentage of clean, advanced-technology vehicles such as gas hybrids.

It is similar to legislation already adopted in Massachusetts, New York and Vermont.


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