Dear Legislative Leaders,
We are writing today with grave concerns about the future of renewable energy growth and thousands of associated jobs in New Hampshire. Please allow us to provide background on the impending roadblock created by a production cap on net metering to ensure you have clear information on the situation.
Currently, New Hampshire has an arbitrary (as noted in documented legislative history) cap on the number of people that can participate in net metering. Net Metering is a cornerstone policy that gives New Hampshire, residents, schools and businesses fair credit for the excess power their systems produce. It is the foundation of a robust solar market – without net metering, a solar industry will stop in its tracks. The policy exists in 44 states, and close to half of those states have no cap at all.
Solar is starting to take off in New Hampshire. It is creating quality local jobs and giving residents the freedom to generate their own affordable, homegrown, clean energy. New Hampshire has tremendous potential to become a national renewable energy leader, but that potential is now at risk.
In 1998, our state set the net metering limit at 50 MW of installed solar capacity. Nearly 20 years later, due to popularity and cost competitiveness, solar adoption has increased exponentially across the country. Today, New Hampshire residents are demanding solar in record numbers, which means we have hit in some areas, and could hit in others any day now, the arbitrary, outdated cap.
Hitting the net metering cap would halt our thriving solar industry, which has serious implications for New Hampshire. First, solar job growth will vanish. Rooftop solar creates high-quality full-time local jobs that can’t be outsourced, and it drives economic growth. As a recent economic report described, NH's clean energy jobs pay annual wages that are 50% higher than the state average annual wage. Second, consumer savings hang in the balance. Rooftop solar gives families and businesses a way to take control of their energy costs with an affordable alternative to traditional utilities. Last but certainly not least, New Hampshire has the opportunity to demonstrate national leadership in renewable energy. Let’s seize that opportunity rather than stifle it. Last year alone the U.S. saw 7 states expand net metering, including New York increasing its cap and South Carolina newly implementing net metering.
We understand that the Legislature does not plan to reconvene until January, but something must be done in the meantime to prevent the cap from stopping progress and causing job losses and massive industry disruption. We are proud of the steps our state has taken to lead on solar and renewable energy and hope you will lift the net metering cap to allow that leadership and solar job growth to continue.