Solar Demand Too High, Funds for Rebates Dry Up

Exceptional Demand for State Rebate Program Dries Up Funds 18 Months Early

By Ryan Hanrahan
|  Wednesday, Dec 10, 2008  |  Updated 6:00 PM EDT
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Solar Demand Too High, Funds for Rebates Dry Up

Looking for a solar panel? Good luck with a rebate.

If you were planning on purchasing solar panels for your home using the state's generous rebate program you'll have the think twice. The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund rebate program that is funded by electric rate payers has run out of money.

Mike Trahan, executive director of Solar Connecticut, Inc., a group that represents solar panel dealers across the state, worries this may cost the state "green-collar" jobs, "those incentive dollars have dried up. These companies are stuck in a way laying off these green collar workers." Trahan says many solar panel installers have expanded to the state to take advantage of the demand after generous rebates were offered to consumers.

Lise Dondy, president of the Clean Energy Fund disagrees with that assertion and expects a new leasing program to provide just as much demand, "we're as concerned as anyone about green jobs. We're talking about an equal number of solar panels as have been sold in the last year and a half."

The Clean Energy Fund expects demand to remain high with the lease program opening up the opportunity to "go green" for those who previously weren't able to afford the expensive down payment. Dondy said, "we think this is a tremendous way to open up the program for those who previously couldn't afford solar."

Governor Rell's spokesperson issued this statement to NBCConnecticut.com, " It's great there was so much interest in the program as there was. However, with the state economic outlook as it is, there is no money right now to refill the pot for the rebate program." Rell is urging consumers to look into the solar lease program as an alternative to the rebate program now that the funds have dried up.

Solar Connecticut is still a bit concerned about the solar lease program and its ability to attract as many customers as the rebate program did. They say they are working alongside the legislature and Clean Energy Fund to ensure the program's success.

If you'd like to learn more about the solar lease program you can visit their website.

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