On Friday, a bi-partisan group of elected leaders from around New Hampshire is converging at a hearing in Concord to urge the state House of Representatives to lift the state’s cap on net metering.
According to the New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association (NHSEA), almost all of the applicable utilities in New Hampshire have already reached their allocated amount under the state’s current 50 MW NEM cap – except Unitil, which is very close behind. One local solar installer named SunRay Solar announced in January that it had to lay off one-third of the company’s employees after Eversource, New Hampshire’s largest energy provider, announced that it had reached its cap.
The state Senate recently passed S.B.333, a bill that would raise the cap 25 MW to 75 MW, and the House is considering a similar bill, H.B.1116, that would do the same.
NHSEA calls the bills “important and well-intentioned efforts,” but the group argues that increasing the cap by 25 MW “will be insufficient over the course of the year to keep businesses and consumers able to continue to choose on-site, renewable self-generation with transparency and market stability.”
“We can’t grow or sustain a business with such inconsistent [policies]. Net metering is a huge piece of the benefit for homeowners and small businesses,” says Kim Quirk, owner of the Energy Emporium, a solar company in Enfield, N.H. “The market for a small installer collapses without net metering. It takes many months and many dollars to build the momentum back up if/when net metering comes back. As a business owner, the current bill with another limit on the cap does not allow me to forecast past this summer. I can’t hire more people.”