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 50 MW. Each utility’s individual aggregate capacity limit is calculated by multiplying the statewide aggregate cap (50 MW) by the individual utility’s share of the “total 2010 annual coincident peak energy demand.” CHP systems may account for a maximum of 4 MW of the state’s aggregate net-metering limit.
Net Excess Generation
Net excess generation (NEG) is either 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.
* 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%.