New Hampshire reduces overall net metering credits, orders solar value study

Late Friday night, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved keeping the full net-metering structure in place while the utilities and other solar stakeholders work on a full value of solar study.
The value of the net-metering credits on systems, however, will change. For systems less than or equal to 100 kW, it keeps the generation and transmission portions of the net metering credits at 100%, though it lowers the distribution credit to 25% of its current retail value from 100%.
The PUC rejected the utilities’ argument that the current system unfairly shifts costs for grid upkeep from solar to non-solar users, saying that solar penetration in the state was so low as to make cost shifts highly unlikely.
On the other hand, the PUC doesn’t rule out that its position could change if solar penetration increases in the state and utilities can prove the cost-shift argument. At least 16 other states that have done value of solar studies and found that benefits to other customers from distributed solar outweigh costs at current or near-future levels of solar penetration.
The order also grandfathers current solar customers to be net metered at current rates through Dec. 31, 2040, and customers who install systems between now and the time when a successor program is implemented will also be grandfathered until the same date. The PUC says in the ruling that its decision on grandfathering was designed to offer stability and certainty to solar investors and customers during that time.
The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) applauded the decision.
“This ruling is a big win for the state of New Hampshire,” said Chris Rauscher, director of public policy at Sunrun and spokesperson for The Alliance for Solar Choice.It’s the latest example of states taking action to support solar energy and provide consumers with more clean energy choices. Utilities, businesses, and consumer groups worked for months to produce this measured step forward that will enable lower energy costs for homeowners, continued economic growth, and local job creation for the state.”

The order requires the utilities to submit rate revisions with the PUC within 30 days and that stakeholder working groups shall be convened within 60 days to develop proposals pilot program implementation, data collection, dissemination specifications, and the timing and scope of the value of solar study.

 

This article has been edited on 6/28/17 at 11:41 am to reflect the reduction of the distribution credit to 25% from 100% as part of its net metering decision. The editors regret the oversight.