With so many stories about utility attacks on net metering, it is easy to overlook legislative progress in many states. Last week, the House of Representatives in the U.S. state of New Hampshire passed a bill to increase the states cap on net metering to 100 MW of capacity, to be split among the service areas of the states utilities.
The House bill would set aside 80% of the capacity in each utility service area for PV systems smaller than 100 kW. Systems 100 kW to 1 MW in capacity would be eligible for the remaining 20%.
This follows on the passage of a bill in the New Hampshire Senate to raise the cap to 75 MW in February. The two bills will now have to be reconciled before a proposal can be sent to Governor Maggie Hassan, who has expressed support for lifting the caps.
Lifting the cap on net metering is essential to the continued success of New Hampshires solar industry, and I applaud the House for its bipartisan vote to pass this critical measure, stated Governor Hassan. The Senate has already supported this legislation, and I urge them to concur with the version passed by the House and send this bill to my desk as quickly as possible so that we can lift the cap on net metering.
The state-wide cap is currently set at 50 MW. The cap was reached in the service area of utility Eversource in January, and local solar installer SunRay Solar has stated that it was forced to lay off employees as a result.
New Hampshire is not among the larger solar markets in the United States. The state is home to only 1.3 million persons, and has not deployed solar as aggressively as the neighboring states of Vermont and Massachusetts.
However, its recent legislative progress is in contrast to Massachusetts, where multiple legislative attempts to raise the caps have floundered. However, earlier this week a letter signed by 100 members of the Massachusetts House calling for a bill to increase the caps without dismantling net metering was sent to House leadership.