By Ken Grossman of Barrington, NH
Thinking about reducing your carbon footprint (and saving money) by getting your power from the sun?
Good idea, but keep in mind that saving money part depends on something called “net metering. “
All that means is that when you get much more electricity than you need in June July and August and you “run the meter backwards,” your local electric distributer (Eversource, formerly PSNH, UNITIL, NHEC, or Liberty)) keeps track of the surplus and gives you credit at
their retail rate when you’re getting much less than you need in the dark months of December, January and February.
If you think they’re doing this out of kindness, probably not. They do this because state law requires them too. But due to diligent lobbying on their part of our state legislature, there’s a limit to their largesse.
The number is 50 megawatts. That’s 50 million watts. It’s apportioned to the utilities based on the number of customers each serves.
That seems like a big number when your little old solar array is running maybe 5 kilowatts (5000 watts). (And if you’re using CFLs or LEDs for light each one is burning only 10 or 15 watts.)
Still, we (the supporters of renewable energy) are making such great progress that UNITIL, Liberty and NHEC have hit their
quota. (NHEC is a coop, owned by its customers and has decided to exceed its limit.) Eversource, the largest utility, won’t be far behind, and isn’t likely to voluntarily exceed its quota.
Can we urge them to do so? Sure. But the best way would be to urge our legislators together with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to raise the limit.
Take Action Now!
HouseScienceTechnologyandEnergy@leg.state.nh.us needs to be positively encouraged to lift the cap. Please send them an email with your support.Additionally, you can send an editable ready-made email through Next Gen Climate: http://actnow.io/qoirco8.