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New Hampshire Raises Net Metering Cap

May 6, 2016 By Cheryl Kaften

The New Hampshire Legislature passed House Bill 1116, Relative to net metering on May 2– and it was signed promptly by Governor Maggie Hassan (D) – raising the total rated capacity for net metering in the Granite State to 100 megawatts (MW).

Net metering is a financial incentive for solar. It enables customer-generators to get full retail value for the electricity they produce by permitting them to sell any excess electricity back into the electric grid.

Under the terms of the new measure, 50 MW of the cap will be allocated to the state’s four electric distribution utilities; and the rest, to three investor-owned utilities.

The bill gives support to rooftop solar, as well as larger commercial installations. Fully 80 percent of each utility’s share of the 50 MW will “be apportioned to [distributed generation] facilities with a total generating capacity of not more than 100 kilowatts (kW); and 20 percent, to facilities with a total generating capacity in excess of 100 kW, but no greater than one megawatt (MW).”

In addition, the legislation mandates the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to study alternative programs to support distributed solar generation after the new 100 MW cap is reached. If any utility reaches any cap for net metering I before alternative tariffs are approved or adopted, eligible customer-generators may continue to interconnect under temporary net metering tariffs under the same terms and conditions as net metering under the 100 megawatt cap, except that such customer-generators shall transition to alternative tariffs once they are approved.

The net metering cap became an urgent issue in the state after Eversource Energy – which serves 510,000 electric customers in 211 communities – hit the former 50 MW cap, creating instability in the local solar industry.

“Solar and other small scale clean energy resources are critical to New Hampshire’s growing clean energy economy, which is creating good-paying, high-quality jobs, spurring economic development and helping combat climate change,” commented Governor Hassan, after signing the bill, adding, “Clean energy resources such as solar are also helping businesses and families across the state lower their energy bills and increase their energy independence, helping to build a more diverse and reliable energy supply that will lead to a more affordable and more innovative energy future for our state.

“Lifting the cap on net metering is essential to the continued success of New Hampshire’s solar industry,” she said, “and I am proud to sign this bipartisan bill so that our clean energy industry can continue to grow and thrive.”

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