Ellington — On March 22, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney visited Control Module, Inc. in Enfield and Earthlight Technologies in Ellington, to talk about Electric Vehicle (EV) and energy efficient infrastructure opportunities following enactment of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed into law last November.
The IIJA provides funding over the next five years to initiate or complete a wide range of important infrastructure projects, including expansion of America’s network of EV charging stations. In February, Courtney announced that the State of Connecticut will receive $7.7 million in 2022 - and more than $52 million over the next five years - to build out EV charging stations across the state. The IIJA also included new funding for energy efficiency projects for state and local governments, schools, nonprofits, and others.
In Ellington, Courtney got a tour of Earthlight’s new, net-zero facility, which is still under construction. Earthlight specializes in commercial energy efficiency projects like installation of EV charging stations, commercial solar panels, LED and high-efficiency indoor lighting, HVAC upgrades, automation and energy management, and more.
Earthlight co-owners Tim Schneider, and his sons Sam and Jake Schneider, explained the new facility’s use of geo-thermal energy, as well as energy-efficient lighting and power.
Fifteen geothermal wells have been dug and are being connected to the building. There will also be water-to-water heat pumps beneath the warehouse floor, and water-to-air heat pumps to heat the offices.
Electric vehicle charging stations will also be at Earthlight’s new facility, with six ports, including two for community use, and four for company operations.
Tim said that the Solar Investment Tax Credits are decreasing and are set to expire, which will hurt the energy industry, but Courtney said there could be some more aid on the way.
Courtney said part of the Build Back Better plan would have infrastructure credits that would have provided more help to solar, wind, and other green energy technologies, and that parts of that bill could still be resurrected in other ways.
“There’s hope,” Courtney said. “We’re sitting there with a budget resolution that only needs 50 votes in the senate. It would be malpractice to let that lapse.”
With the federal government’s current focus on Ukraine, Courtney said the hope is that it will shift back toward infrastructure soon, including more tax credits.
Schneider said that the phone has been “ringing off the hook” for people looking for residential solar panels, due to rising heating costs that hit during the winter months.
Earlier the same day, Courtney visited Control Module, Inc. in Enfield, which designs and manufacturers smart Level 1 and Level 2 electric car charging stations for the workplace, park facilities, public locations, fleets, and multi-dwelling units.
He met with Control Module’s John Fahy (president), Sean Grady (CFO), and Dan Shanahan (director of sales, EVSE East Coast) for an overview of their work, and to discuss new EV funding.
Courtney said facilities like the two he toured demonstrate that renewable energy sources can work and integrate well into businesses, as well as homes.
“It shows that renewable energy is here to stay,” Courtney said. “It’s going to be a big part of our local economy. It shows that we don’t have to be so dependent on external energy supplies. There’s no limit to the opportunity here, for jobs, and for people to save money on their home energy bills.”
“It’s really a matter of getting the information out,” Courtney said, regarding making infrastructure bill funds available for businesses, towns, and individuals. “Some of it’s going to flow through the State of Connecticut, and there are other opportunities that individual towns and businesses can directly apply for assistance. Our office just wants to be a go-between, to make sure that we get the maximum benefit of the renewable energy piece of the infrastructure bill.”