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NH Senate passes bill to raise net-metering cap by 50 MW

Lawmakersin New Hampshire have approved a bill that would raise the net metering cap inthe state by 50 MW. The bill, H.B.1116, passed the state senate April 7 and raises the cap to 100 MWand requires state regulators to develop alternative net-metering tariffs.

Gov.Maggie Hassan indicatedthat she would sign the bill and commended lawmakers from both parties forrecognizing the importance of lifting the cap, which she said would help theclean energy industry in the state continue to develop.

"Ourgrowing clean energy economy has New Hampshire ranked as one of the top fivestates for renewable energy and the clean energy industry, including solar, isplaying a critical role in that success — creating good-paying, high-qualityjobs, spurring economic development and helping combat climate change,"Hassan said.

Hassanadded that solar and other types of small scale renewable energy are helping tolower electricity bills and increase energy independence in the state and arecreating a more diverse and reliable energy supply.

Senate Majority Leader Republican Jeb Bradley said the billwill increase solarinvestment and increase protections for ratepayers. The increase to thenet-metering cap "strikes an important balance" between promoting thedevelopment of renewables and allowing state regulators to set a rate to betterprotect electric customers, according to Bradley.

"Net metering is important for solar development andsolar industry jobs in New Hampshire, but with some of the highest electricrates in the country, the Public Utilities Commission will be able to implementprotections for electric customers by setting lower rates than the rates paidto net metering customers today," Bradley said.

Thestate Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a March 30 on the bill, whereRepublican Rep. Frank Edelblut, the bill's primary sponsor, said the currentcap was threatening to shut down a growing industry. The Business and IndustryAssociation, New Hampshire's chamber of commerce, was opposed to thecost-shifting provision in the bill and urged the committee to reject it.

TheHouse of Representatives passedlegislation March 10 that doubled the state's net-metering cap for solargeneration from 50 MW to 100 MW, following the Senate's Feb. 4 approval of S.B.333, which sought to increase the cap to 75 MW. The House version likewiseoriginally pursued a 25-MW cap hike until legislators amended it to 50 MW.

Thepush to raise the cap for the state's four utilities in January when reached itsindividual limit on the amount of customer-generated electricity that iseligible for net metering under state law.