New Hampshire requires all utilities selling electricity in the state to offer net metering to customers who own or operate systems up to one megawatt (MW) in capacity that generate electricity using solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, tidal, wave, biomass, landfill gas, bio-oil, or biodiesel. Combined heat and power (CHP) systems that use natural gas, wood pellets, hydrogen, propane, or heating oil are also eligible.*
System Capacity Limit
The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) rules for net metering distinguish between small customer-generators (up to 100 kilowatts) and large customer-generators (greater than 100 kW and up to 1 MW). The rules vary slightly for each customer type.
Aggregate Capacity Limit
The aggregate statewide capacity limit of all net-metered systems is 100 MW. Fifty MW of this limit is allocated to the four electric distribution utilities that were subject to PUC jurisdiction in 2010, multiplied by each utility's percentage share of the "total 2010 annual coincident peak energy demand." The other 50 MW is allocated to the state's three investor-owned utilities, multiplied by each utility's share of the "total 2010 annual coincident peak energy demand." Of this second 50 MW, 80% must be reserved for facilities up to 100 kW, and 20% is reserved for facilities over 100 kW and up to 1 MW. CHP systems may account for a maximum of 4 MW of the state’s aggregate net-metering limit.
If any utility reaches any aggregate cap before alternative tariffs are approved or adopted (see "Net Metering Alternative" below), eligible customer-generators may continue to interconnect under temporary net metering tariffs under the same terms and conditions as net metering under the 100 MW cap. These customers must transition to alternative tariffs once they are approved or adopted.
S.B. 378, enacted in May 2016, limits the amount of capacity space an entity may reserve in the net metering interconnection queue to 20% of the total net metering utility-specific allocation.
Net Excess Generation
Net excess generation (NEG) is carried forward indefinitely to the customer’s next bill as a kilowatt-hour (kWh) credit. Customers with NEG at the end of an annual period may elect to receive payment for NEG at the utility’s avoided cost rate. Customers retain ownership of renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with generation. However, RECs associated with the net excess generation purchased by the utility at the end of an annual billing period may be claimed by the utility.
For systems up to 100 kW, a single meter that measures both the inflow and outflow of electricity internally is used. A bi-directional meter is used for larger systems. Utilities may install additional meters at their own expense.
Each utility’s net metering tariff must be identical, with respect to rates, rate structure, and charges, to the tariff under which the customer would otherwise take default service from the utility. The PUC is authorized to develop a methodology for net metering under a time-of-use tariff.
Virtual Net Metering
S.B. 98 (2013) allows a customer-generator to become a group host for a group of customers who are not customer-generators. The kWh credits generated by a host system will be shared between the members of the group. The group of customers must be default service customers of the same electric distribution utility as the host. The host must also provide a list of the group members to the PUC and the electric distribution utility, and must certify that all members of the group have executed an agreement with the host. Any costs necessary to upgrade a utility’s information systems in order to accommodate the billing arrangement associated with virtual net metering must be paid by the group host.
Net Metering Alternative
H.B. 1116, enacted in May 2016, directs the PUC to initiate a proceeding to develop new alternative net metering tariffs and issue an order initially approving or adopting such tariffs within 10 months of the bill's effective date (05/02/2016). In developing these tariffs, the PUC is directed to consider the costs and benefits of customer-generator facilities, an avoidance of unjust and unreasonable cost shifting, rate effects on all customers, alternative rate structures, the size of facilities eligible to receive net metering tariffs, timely recovery of lost utility revenue through the use of an automatic rate adjustment mechanism, and utilities' administrative processes required to implement such tariffs. Current net metering tariffs will be available to eligible customer-generators until December 31, 2040.
* CHP systems up to 30 kW must have a system efficiency of at least 80% to be eligible. CHP systems greater than 30 kW and up to 1 MW must have a fuel system efficiency of at least 65%.