New Hampshire Senate votes to expand net metering eligibility
- Lawmakers in the New Hampshire Senate have approved a measure to grow the size of resources participating in the state's net metering program, raising the limit to 5 MW from 1 MW, and including provisions for some participation from larger facilities.
- New Hampshire is continuing to tweak its net metering rules, following new tariffs approved last July, that revamped the compensation structure.
- SB 446 also directs the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission to launch a process to develop interim rates for larger generators to be in place within six months of the law. Projects receiving the interim rates would be grandfathered in for 12 years.
New Hampshire regulators last year largely kept the state's net metering system in place, tweaking the compensation system and eliminating program caps. So far, the program has been open only to customer generators 1 MW and under, but lawmakers could expand that significantly.
The bill, which now heads to the House, calls for the PUC to determine an interim rate "as expeditiously as possible" to allow systems that generate between 1 MW to 5 MW to qualify for the credit. The law requires regulators to determine a final rate within three years that would consider the costs and benefits of such facilities.
The program will also be open to qualifying facilities larger than 5 MW but less than 25 MW, but the facility's output allocated for net energy metering participation cannot exceed 5 MW. Qualifying facilities could include hydroelectricity, wind, solar, and combined heat and power systems..
The current net metering tariffs apply monthly credits to small solar customers equal to 100% of the value of energy and transmission service, and 25% of distribution service for excess generation sent back to the grid.
Those rates, however, applied only for renewable systems 1 MW or less. The new rates represented a more collaborative approach, mixing solar industry and utility proposals to a develop new net metering rate. In 2016, state lawmakers expanded the state's net metering program from 50 MW to 100 MW, but regulators lifted the limit last year.
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