Excerpt from “Solar bill before NH House panel has both sides shifting stances” by DAVE SOLOMON published in the Union Leader
CONCORD — A bill initially designed to encourage private solar installations on rooftops has instead become a vehicle for utility companies to own solar generation in the state, according to critics of SB117 at a hearing on Tuesday before the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee.
Installing rooftop solar panels has become a growing industry in the state, and is on the verge of taking off among consumers. Rooftop solar has become so popular in the central part of the state served by the New Hampshire Electric Coop, that the utility has nearly exceeded the number of customers allowed to sell their excess electricity back into the grid, in a process known as net metering.
State Sen. Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, drafted a bill that she had hoped would allow for more net metering to encourage the development of a reliable renewable energy source and promote a burgeoning private industry. Her bill would have more than doubled the limit on the amount of electricity consumers can sell back into the grid, currently set at 50 megawatts per year, statewide.
“I introduced the bill to encourage greater development of New Hampshire’s home-grown energy resources,” she said. But somewhere along its path to the Senate floor, where it was approved on a voice vote, the measure was turned into something else altogether.