Concord-based SunRay solar recently announced that it was forced to layoff one-third of its workers and scale back operations because of New Hampshire’s solar net metering cap. Eversource is the state’s largest utility and hit the cap on January 21, forcing the latest round of layoffs. Unless Legislators lift the cap this session, more layoffs will follow.
“These layoffs are devastating to our employees and their families and are only a small sign of what’s to come if New Hampshiredoesn’t lift its cap immediately,” said Michael Fay, Managing Partner of SunRay solar. “Allowing net metering to continue will allow SunRay and other local companies to keep these employees and continue hiring so we can bring solar, economic growth and energy independence to more New Hampshire homes and businesses.”
While Legislators are currently working on a bill to address the net metering cap, the current version of the legislation would lead to a complete industry shut down in the near term. The bill, SB 333, offers a small increase in the net metering cap that the industry will exhaust quickly. In order to avoid a second round of disruption, continued layoffs and uncertainty, legislators need to incorporate a small fix that allows net metering to continue to operate as it has for years while the Public Utilities Commission evaluates the net metering program. SB 333 has a positive recommendation from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee but the full Senate can amend SB333 on the Senate Floor to deliver a positive result for New Hampshire.
Net metering is a fundamental solar policy that gives fair credit to solar customers for the excess energy they put back on the grid. Utilities like Eversource sell this power to homes and businesses nearby at the full retail rate and save money because they don’t have to generate or transmit the power. All of the most recent studies by state regulators show that net metering is a financial benefit to all ratepayers.