CHESHIRE — Ned Lamont, Democratic gubernatorial candidate, said he’ll increase funding for the Connecticut Green Bank and energy efficiency fund to promote growth in the green energy sector.
Lamont and running mate Susan Bysiewicz toured Trinity Solar in Cheshire Thursday. The two were joined by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, who is running against Republican challenger Matthew Corey.
Lamont and Bysiewicz heard from company officials about the installation and benefits of solar panels.
Lamont said renewable energy provides a benefit to homeowners looking to reduce electricity costs, helps the environment, and creates jobs. He feels the state has “looted” the Green Bank and needs to reinvest in it.
The Green Bank provides loans for the installation of solar panels at no up-front cost to homeowners. A total of $32 million was taken out of the fund in the current two-year budget.
“Let’s go back to funding the Green Bank, let’s go back to funding the energy efficiency fund,” Lamont said. “That would be a real priority in our first year.”
He criticized Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski’s approach to green energy and climate change as “wrong on every front.”
“This company really shows the potential we have in growing green businesses,” Lamont said.
In a statement Thursday, Stefanowski said that Connecticut can “lead by example” when it comes to climate change, protecting the environment and protecting natural resources.
"I am also supportive of expanding green energy,” he said. “Connecticut has all of the tools necessary to become a global hub for clean energy innovation that will make green energy more efficient and affordable, including world-class research institutions, an exceptionally qualified workforce, and environmentally conscious investors."
Bysiewicz said she also wanted better state support for solar energy.
“Sadly, Connecticut’s solar laws are not as progressive as they could be,” she said. “Better funding of the Connecticut Green Bank is critical.”
Michael Trahan, executive director of SolarConnecticut, a solar energy industry association, said solar companies employ around 3,000 people in the state. He was pleased that a federal legislator and state candidates took the time Thursday to visit Trinity Solar.
“We are reliant on state and federal policies to make our industry work,” Trahan said.
Trinity Solar is based in New Jersey and has a location on West Johnson Avenue in Cheshire. The company operates in six states and is Connecticut’s largest solar panel provider.