Greenskies Saves Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU) $8.9 Million in Energy Costs, Additional $19.5 Million Worth of Savings Under Development
Current Virtual Net Metering Cap Stands in the Way of Another $35.9M
North Haven, CT (April 29, 2021) – Today, Greenskies Clean Energy LLC (“Greenskies”), a leader in renewable-energy solutions, announced the completion of the first of nine offsite solar projects currently in development for Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (“CSCU”). The project comprises six solar arrays combined into a 6.1 MWdc ground-mounted solar system. Located in Stonington, Connecticut, it will provide energy to CSCU campuses across the state through Connecticut’s Virtual Net Metering (VNM) program.
The VNM program allows CSCU to take solar energy generated at a remote site – in this instance, from Stonington – and apply it against energy consumption at other locations. Four CSCU campuses will benefit from the system, including Capital Community College in Hartford, Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, Middlesex Community College in Middletown, and Norwalk Community College in Norwalk. The system will produce 8,100,000 kWh of energy per year, eliminating the equivalent 14,400,000 miles driven by a family car. It is expected to save CSCU an estimated $8.9 million over the term.
CSCU has two additional projects ready for construction representing an additional $19.5 million in savings. There are also six more projects in the pipeline offering another $35.9 million in savings. But there is a lot hanging in the balance for CSCU to fully realize these savings. The current VNM program has reached its capacity cap, and no further projects can be funded and built without a further increase in the VNM caps. If all these projects can be built, CSCU is poised to reap significant savings – $64.3 million, but much of everything depends on an expansion of the current VNM program. The General Assembly needs to approve already-drafted VNM expansion legislation before the end of the 2021 legislative session to ensure CSCU can take full advantage of these savings.
CSCU and many others, including dozens of municipalities, are counting on the legislature to increase the VNM cap to allow them to realize their stranded solar projects. To put things in perspective, Connecticut’s VNM program would require only $15-20 million to fully fund every project in the Eversource and United Illuminating (UI) queue.
Virtual Net Metering offers additional benefits as well. It helps Connecticut gain more energy independence and reach its goal to achieve 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, creates local jobs, improves the finances of struggling municipalities and state educational systems, as well as creates new revenue streams for Connecticut landowners.
The recently completed solar system is built on land leased from Wayne Robinson, a long-time Stonington resident, and farmer. “I’ve been very happy with Greenskies,” said Robinson, “It’s been amazing to see how everything has come together over the last year.” Robinson will continue haying operations in addition to introducing new agricultural activities on the property.
Moreover, Greenskies is working with a local beekeeper to establish a ten-hive apiary on the site. In support of the apiary, areas throughout the site were seeded with a pollinator mix to attract and support beneficial native bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Robinson will also benefit from cultivating the berry bushes Greenskies is planting along a portion of the southern fence line. The environmental impacts are minimal, but the benefits to Robinson are many, including additional rental income from the solar farm lease and increased agricultural co-uses.
“Greenskies is pleased to help CSCU reduce electricity costs and achieve substantial savings. We have utilized Virtual Net Metering to help a number of Connecticut municipalities and state educational systems meet clean energy goals and save money with offsite installations,” said Stanley Chin, President and CEO of Greenskies. “It’s clear that Connecticut stands to benefit greatly from increasing the cap on Virtual Net Metering.”
About Greenskies Clean Energy
Greenskies Clean Energy along with its sister company, Clean Focus, develop, finance, construct, own, and operate clean, renewable-energy projects in the United States. From beginning to end – origination through construction and then lifetime operation – customers work with a single delivery team. Greenskies offers integrated solar and battery-storage solutions to C&I, municipal, and utility customers, while Clean Focus provides capital and owns the systems. Both Clean Focus and Greenskies were founded in 2009, and they joined JLC Infrastructure as wholly-owned subsidiaries in 2019. Together Clean Focus and Greenskies have constructed and operate over 275 MW of C&I solar projects throughout the country. The combined company was Ranked #1 by Solar Power World in 2019 for cumulative commercial installations.