Legislation helps towns with solar projects

HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel Malloy signed legislation last Friday that could help Beacon Falls and other towns finance solar energy projects

The public act authorizes an additional $6 million for a renewable energy credit offered through the state’s virtual net metering program

Previous law set an annual cap of $10 million for distribution among the municipal, state and agricultural sectors. The cap was frustrating the plans of Beacon Falls and other towns for solar energy projects.

In February, the Beacon Falls Board of Selectmen approved a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Troy, N.Y.-based Jordan Energy.

Jordan Energy, a solar energy company, plans to install solar panels on town property on Lopus Road as part of the state’s ZREC program. Under the program, the state pays companies, such as Jordan Energy, a set rate for every 1,000 kilowatt hours of power generated. The company then sells the energy it generates back to the town at a lower rate than what Eversource Energy charges.

Virtual net metering generally allows owners of renewable energy systems to share the billing credits that are generated when the system produces more power than the owner uses.