- New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) signed H.B. 1116 into law last month, doubling the cap on the state’s net energy metering (NEM) program to 100 MW. But the new cap allocates only 10 MW for large projects, and one utility in the state says it already has more capacity than that waiting in its queue.
- Eversource Energy, the state's largest electric utility, is allotted 7.8 MW of the cap’s limit on net metered systems larger than 100 kW and says it has already approved 7.2 MW of that, with plenty more under review. Liberty Utilities and Unitil, other power providers, hold the remaining 2.2 MW allocation of the cap and are not as close to their limits, the New Hampshire Business Review reports.
- Developers of large net metered projects, such as those for commercial or industrial customers, must now await regulatory action for a new net metering policy. A public proceeding is expected over the next ten months at the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission through which regulators will study solar valuation methods that could be used for choosing a path forward once the new NEM cap is reached.
The ink has barely dried on a new New Hampshire law to raise caps on net metered solar systems, and already the New Hampshire Business Journal reports that the cap has nearly been reached for large projects.
Eversource has an approved 16 project waiting list of projects over 100 kW, representing 7.2 MW. It also has 10 projects near approval representing 7.8 MW more — well over its total 7.8 MW allocation for large systems.
The new law allocated 40 MW for smaller residential net metered systems, and Eversource reports there is still plenty of space for those projects. The utility currently has 422 projects accounting for about 4 of the 31 MW allocated to it. Liberty Utilities has less than 200 kW of small capacity and 3.7 MW of the new allotment.
For at least a few months, it seems New Hampshire developers working in the Eversource territory will have to focus on the residential market. Then state regulators are expected to take up a proceeding to address the value of solar and find an alternative to the current net metering policy. They are not alone.
Hawaii and Nevada both made extensive changes to their NEM policies in 2015. California's utility regulators chose to preserve its existing policy and revisit the question in 2019. And Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) just vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have replaced NEM with the most sweeping revision of the policy to date.
In all, 39 states were working on solar policy during Q1 2016, according to a report from NC Clean Energy Technology Center. 22 considered or enacted changes to NEM policies pertaining to whether electricity from customer-sited generation exported to the grid should receive retail rate credits or other compensation.