New Hampshire Raises Size Limit for Municipal Solar Projects to 5 Megawatts
On August 26, 2021, Governor Chris Sununu signed HB 315 into law, expanding the size limit of solar net metering projects in New Hampshire with a municipal host from 1 megawatt (MW) to 5 MW. Governor Sununu also signed SB 91 into law, making certain other amendments to the state’s net metering statute, RSA 362-A:9
HB 315 sets the following terms relative to municipal net metering projects:
- A “municipal host” (i.e., the project) may be sized up to 5 MW rather than the general 1 MW size limit. Other net metering projects remain subject to the 1 MW size limit.
- A municipal host that is a group net metering project must consist exclusively of customers who are “political subdivisions,” defined for these purposes as a city, town, county, school district, charter school, village district SAU or special purpose entities related thereto.
- All customers must be located within the same utility service territory. The municipal host (i.e., the project) must be located in the same municipality as all group members if the facility began operation after January 1, 2021.
- The municipal host may be owned by either a public or private entity. Thus, a private entity may own the project so long as all group members are “political subdivisions.”
On multiple occasions in recent years, the New Hampshire legislature passed bills raising the size limit for all net metering projects (not just municipal) from 1 MW to 5 MW but each of those bills were vetoed by Governor Sununu. Other northeastern states use a 5 MW size limit on commercial solar projects seeking to participate in net metering or similar solar programs. Supporters of expanded net metering in New Hampshire hope that HB 315 will be a first step toward eventually allowing all net metering projects to be sized up to 5 MW.
Net metering projects developed in New Hampshire today receive monetary net metering credits under the interconnecting utility’s alternative net metering tariff, established pursuant to the New Hampshire Public Utility Commission’s Order No. 26,029 issued on June 23, 2017, later codified into rule at Puc 900. Large customer-generators (capacity over 100 kilowatts (KW) up to 5 MW for municipal projects or 1 MW for other projects) are credited for each kilowatt-hour exported to the grid at a value equal to the utility’s default energy service rate. Small customer-generators (capacity of 100 KW or less) are credited at a value equal to the sum of the utility’s default energy service rate plus the utility’s transmission rate plus 25% of the utility’s distribution rate.