Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back

Know the Law: The Sun is Shining on Small Scale Solar in New Hampshire, For Now

Written by: Rebecca S. Walkley

Published in the Union Leader (12/18/2017)

Q: What is net metering and how does it work in New Hampshire?  Is now a good time to install solar panels on my home? 

A. Net metering is central to any consideration of the economics of residential and commercial solar in New Hampshire.  Briefly, net metering allows owners of solar panels to sell  electricity they generate back to the electric grid and obtain credit against their utility electric bill.  Effective September 1, 2017, after extensive hearings and debate the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission removed the cap set for utilities limiting the amount of solar energy that could be installed, and altered the way the net metering program is managed.  

Of particular interest to utility customers considering a solar installation is the calculation of the credit they will receive for generation of electricity.   Prior to the 2017 PUC Order, residential customers, with small scale residential solar systems of less than 100 kilowatts, received the full value of the energy supply, transmission and distribution charge for each unit of electricity generated.  Under the new Order that took effect in September, small solar producers will still  receive credit for the full energy supply and transmission charges, but only 25% of the distribution charge. 

Additionally, the Order provides that the credit will be calculated in dollars to be applied to the bill on a net monthly basis, rather than the prior method of accumulating kilowatt hour credits.  A utility customer that installs a small scale residential solar project will still be able to offset, or in some cases, eliminate their utility bill by producing enough energy to fully account for their own energy consumption –  referred to as  “behind the meter use.”  The change in reimbursement only effects the amount of credit for energy production in excess of the behind the meter usage. 

What does the PUC Order mean for ratepayers and property owners in New Hampshire?  At present, there remains  some uncertainty in the market for small scale residential solar as the PUC continues to evaluate potential additional changes to the net metering structure in the future. There is the possibility that additional regulatory changes may further reduce the benefits associated with net metering.  The Order does provide some protection against further changes for solar projects.  Under the order, any solar project proposed after September 1, 2017, will be grandfathered, through 2040, under the terms outlined in the Order regardless of future changes that may be made to the net metering structure.  Given the inherent unpredictability of the extent of reimbursement in the future, now may be a good time to install small scale solar in New Hampshire.

Rebecca be reached at [email protected].

Know the Law is a bi-weekly column sponsored by McLane Middleton, Professional Association.   We invite your questions of business law.  Questions and ideas for future columns should be addressed to:  McLane Middleton, 900 Elm Street, Manchester, NH 03101 or emailed to [email protected].  Know the Law provides general legal information, not legal advice.  We recommend that you consult a lawyer for guidance specific to your particular situation.

Integrity and trust

At McLane Middleton we establish and maintain long-standing relationships with our clients to help us better achieve their unique goals over time. This approach to building trust requires that our esteemed lawyers and professionals use their broad, in-depth knowledge and work together with integrity to ascertain sound resolutions to legal matters for their clients.

Strength in numbers

McLane Middleton is made up of more than 105 attorneys who represent a broad range of clients throughout the region, delivering customized solutions. As a firm we are recognized as having the highest legal ability rating. The firm is rated Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell and is recognized as one of the nation's leading law firms in Chambers USA. Our attorneys are distinguished leaders in their respective practice areas.

Meet Our People

Commitment and collaboration

McLane Middleton's versatile group of attorneys and paralegals become trusted authorities on each case through collaboration. We work with our clients to learn their individual needs first and foremost and, together, we develop comprehensive solutions to their specific legal matters. This approach helps us exceed our clients' expectations efficiently and effectively, client by client, case by case.

Practice Areas

A history of excellence

McLane Middleton was established in 1919 in New Hampshire, and has five offices across two states. However, deep historical roots don't allow you to become innate. Our firm is organized, technological, and knowledgeable. Our history means we are recognized. But our reputation is built on the highest quality of service and experience in very specific areas of law.

The Firm

Intelligence paired with action

Our team continuously seeks opportunities to enhance their professional development and put key learnings to action. The pursuit of further insight guides us to volunteer service opportunities, speaking engagements, and teaching roles. Our lawyers are sought after thought leaders across their industries, and recipients of leadership awards throughout the region.