Agreement Creates Roadmap for Rooftop Solar in NH

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On Friday, March 10, Conservation Law Foundation filed a groundbreaking agreement with 10 other nonprofits and clean technology companies to create a roadmap for rooftop solar and other distributed energy resources in New Hampshire.

The agreement, filed at the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC), lays out a two-stage roadmap for the state to follow over the next four years and more. It puts the state on a path toward robust consumer choice, lower bills, and a healthy environment.

The PUC is currently evaluating how much customers with rooftop solar and other distributed energy resources get paid for the energy they give back the grid. The PUC opened the proceeding in 2016 in response to New Hampshire House Bill 1116, which directed the Commission to develop new alternative net metering tariffs and pilots.

The energy roadmap entails a short-term compromise that would gradually reduce the compensation that homeowners and small businesses are paid for rooftop solar and other distributed energy in the state over the next three years. In 2021, a new “net metering 2.0” program would kick in, featuring data-driven rates that reflect the actual value of energy resources like rooftop solar to the state of New Hampshire.

This New Hampshire-specific solution was developed with real data and real value in mind. The roadmap will help forge meaningful clean energy markets and ensure that Granite Staters know the value of each of our investments before we make them. Today, the value of rooftop solar and other distributed energy resources to New Hampshire customers and utilities can’t be known for certain, because we don’t have the data we need. This solution provides a bridge to get us through the next three years, and develops that data at the same time. After the data is ready, it will be plugged into a new compensation rate that reflects actual energy value.

Value-based rates result in smart energy innovation and help us to prove that clean energy benefits not only individual customers, but all electricity consumers, as well as the entire electric system.  We already know rooftop solar and other clean energy solutions are a great idea, but starting in 2021, we’ll be able to say exactly how great – and which investments are the smartest ones to make in a given place at a given time.

For more details about the energy roadmap that CLF has filed in PUC Docket DE 16-576, you can find the terms and a description of the agreement here.

Other parties to the agreement include local clean technology companies and advocates like ReVision Energy, Granite State Hydropower Association, and the New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association, as well as national clean technology advocates including the Alliance for Solar Choice.

The next step will be for the PUC to review and accept this energy roadmap, and for the legislature to respect the PUC’s final decision, which is anticipated by early June. In the meantime, we hope you’ll consider supporting the energy roadmap by writing your local paper, or giving your legislator a call.

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