The state of New Hampshire has no stated clean energy goals, although it is surrounded by two states with serious commitments. Massachusetts’ climate action law calls for net zero by 2050. Maine recently increased its renewable energy portfolio standard to 80% by 2030 and set a goal of 100% clean energy by 2050. This stark contrast to its neighbors is a theme that runs through many states. Strategies. However, the state’s clean energy market is being driven by knowledgeable and environmentally conscious organizations and individual residents, many of whom have — slowly but surely — pushed through changes in energy policies. own.
High electric bills are prompting many New Englanders to switch to solar power, as New England states have some of the highest electricity rates in the country. Although New Hampshire’s rates are not the highest in the six-state area, they have recently seen a sharp increase. In 2022, for example, according to EIA dataresidential electricity rates were $21.26, up from $18.93 in 2021. Commercial rates also saw an increase, from $15.40 in 2021 to $17.54 this year.
Tax credits and exemptions
For those seizing the opportunity to go solar in New Hampshire, the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) currently accounts for 26% of system costs, but finding additional incentives is getting tricky . For starters, there is no property tax exemption offered by the state. Instead, RSA 72:61-72 allows cities and towns to offer local property tax exemptions for certain renewable energy installations, which means those opting for solar energy should check whether their city individual has issued a total or partial exemption. Since property taxes are so high in New Hampshire (the third highest in the nation), exemptions are important for homeowners who go solar.
State incentives and credits
The Renewable Energy Fund was created by the Legislature (RSA 362F) to help promote renewable energy initiatives in New Hampshire. The fund supports initiatives through rebate and grant programs. The fund is powered by New Hampshire’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) which requires that 25% of the electrical energy supplied in the state come from renewable fuels and resources. Electricity providers who cannot purchase enough renewable energy or cannot obtain it at a reasonable price are allowed to meet this requirement by making another compliance payment to the renewable energy fund.
In terms of state rebate for switching to solar power, the New Hampshire State Utilities Commission has a residential renewable electricity generation incentive program that offers 0.20 $ per watt, up to a maximum of $1,000 or 30% of total system cost, whichever is lower.
In June 2017, the New Hampshire PUC updated its net metering policy to allow small generator customers (100 kW or less) to meter their distributed generation resources. According to the filing, “These generator customers will receive monthly excess export credits equal to the value of the kWh charges for energy service and transmission service at 100% and distribution service at 25%, while paying non-avoidable charges, such as system benefit charges, stranded cost recovery fee, other similar surcharges, and state electricity consumption tax, on the total amount of their imports of electricity from the power grid.
NH PUC has a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) program that utilizes the Regional Energy Certificate Production Information System administered by ISO-New England and the New England Power Pool. However, CERs in NH are worth much less than in neighboring states. Recent prices for RECs have been around $30 per MWh, while a REC in Massachusetts is currently priced at around $300 per MWh.
New Hampshire gives a nod to low-to-middle-income residents with the 2019 Low-Income Community Solar Act (SB 165) that expanded the original Clean Energy Jobs and Opportunities Act. It requires the NH PUC to authorize at least two new LMI community solar projects per utility territory each year beginning in 2020. According to the 2020 Costs and Benefits Report“When operational, the projects, as proposed, will generate approximately 600,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year and provide direct benefits to 123 LMI households, plus 21 non-LMI households.”
Senate Bill 286 took effect in 2019, authorizing community power, also known as municipal aggregation, which allows cities to provide electricity to their residents and businesses on a competitive basis. Electricity is distributed by one of NH’s four traditional utilities – Eversource, Liberty Utilities, NH Electric Cooperative, and Unitil – and cities can choose to purchase electricity generated by solar, wind or solar power. other attributes. Cities can also choose to build a local energy project to power their Community Power program.
Six New Hampshire towns have signed up to the Sierra Club Ready for 100 campaign, a movement that aims to get cities to commit to 100% clean and renewable energy. Hannover was the first city in the country to commit, pledging in 2017 to power the entire community with 100% renewable energy for electricity by 2030 (heat and transport by 2050) .
With a total of just 164.8 MW of solar power installed in the state, New Hampshire is currently ranked 40and in the country for installed solar (compared to 36and last year), and only 1.8% of the state’s electricity currently comes from solar power.
The growth projection is even bleaker with only 427 MW projected over the next five years, a ranking of 42n/a in the countryside. Put it another way: only eight states are expected to install less solar power than New Hampshire through 2028. There are currently about 55 solar companies in New Hampshire, with a total of about 1,000 jobs in the ‘industry.
To find out how to advance solar power in New Hampshire and seize the clean energy opportunity, photo magazine spoke with Sam Evans-Brown, executive director of Clean Energy New Hampshire, a nonprofit organization that provides services and resources to support clean energy and technology communities. Evans-Brown said the first step in promoting clean energy in NH would be to expand the Renewable Portfolio Standard. “We will continue to try to achieve political victories every year and these will necessarily be small for a while, but with small incremental steps we will get there,” he said. For many years, the largest solar arrays in the state were 1 and 2 MW installations, the newest of which is owned by the New Hampshire Electric Coop and is located in Moultonborough. The good news is that the tide may be turning, with a few much larger facilities planned for the state. For example, the Chariot Solar 50MW project was recently approved for construction by NextEra Energy on an approximately 200-acre site in Hinsdale, New Hampshire, and is expected to be operational next year.
This is the third article in the 50 Solar Incentive States series, which began with Maine and then moved to Connecticut.
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