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Rooftop Solar At A Crossroads In The Granite State

new hampshire solar panelsNew Hampshire has just been given a front row seat in the battle for our energy future. Policymakers are facing a decision that could make or break the future of rooftop solar in the Granite State.

A little bit of background: New Hampshire is on the verge of hitting a cap on the state’s net energy metering policy (NEM), which gives rooftop solar consumers full credit for the excess energy they send back to the grid. NEM is the law of the land in 44 U.S. states, and has proven abundantly successful in growing the share of our energy generated by renewable resources. This growth in the “green economy” has led to job creation and continues to move us toward a healthier and more sustainable environment.

The New Hampshire cap on NEM is arbitrary at best, and rooftop solar supporters have been advocating for it to be raised in order to keep up with public demand and rapid growth in the industry. Of course, this doesn’t go over well with big New Hampshire utilities who will go to great lengths to protect their profit margins.

For example, State Senator Donna Soucy (D-Manchester) sponsored a bill last session whose original language called for expanding net metering to encourage the development of reliable renewable energy sources. That bill would have more than doubled the state’s NEM limit — currently 50 megawatts per consumer per year. But, that provision was stripped thanks to opposition from Eversource and other big utilities.

Meanwhile, instead of gearing up to expand its solar energy offerings and allow in-state job growth and energy production, Eversource is busy pushing a $1.4 billion project to import electricity from Canada, which is currently under environmental review. Instead of driving local investment and good jobs by allowing New Hampshire solar to keep growing, Eversource is pushing a project that would have ratepayers subsidizing a foreign economy and potentially shipping jobs out of the state.

It’s up to Governor Hassan and the legislature to take action and prevent disruption to New Hampshire solar jobs and renewable energy leadership.

Policymakers have a tremendous opportunity to draw a line in the sand on what’s best for the future of New Hampshire and Granite State jobs. Governor Hassan and the Legislature can take a stand for consumers.

The choice is theirs. The voice is ours.

Image by PSNH (some rights reserved)

 
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Written By

is an independent media strategist based in San José, CA. You can read his many musings on Twitter @pjallen2.

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