The Granite state, New Hampshire, is a beautiful, verdant northeastern state renowned for its skiing, covered bridges and gorgeous autumns with a sea of colors. It’s also home to some of the strongest winds in the world. And despite its northern location, the state still sports enough sun to justify installing solar power.
The state already derives about 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources. That percentage will increase as utilities in the state add more renewables into their energy mix to comply with its renewable portfolio standard (RPS), requiring utilities in the state to source 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. As such, the state and its utilities offer some decent discounts to encourage residents and businesses to install solar and other renewable energy on their homes and buildings. In addition to the incentives outlined here, check with local utilities about other incentive opportunities.
New Hampshire’s southern region gets just shy of 4.5 kilowatt hours of sun per square meter per day, while its northwestern gets nearly 4 kWh of sun per square meter per day. It’s far less than some other states like Arizona, but still enough to warrant a solar installation.
However, solar systems in New Hampshire should be sized to compensate for the lower levels of sunlight. The DOE’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) stated that New Hampshire also has potential for other types of renewable energy generation, including wind, wood and biomass. Given that New Hampshire is home to one of the windiest places in the world, Mount Washington—where wind speeds have reached 231 miles an hour—the potential for wind generation in the state is strong.
While 10 percent of New Hampshire’s electric needs come from renewables, the majority still comes from a nuclear generator and two large natural gas-fired power plants, which collectively provide about 75 percent of the state’s energy needs. EIA stated that overall electric use in the state is relatively low because there’s little need for air conditioning in the state’s cool summers and most buildings use fuel oil for heating their homes in the winter.
|Program Type||Property Tax Exemption|
|Technologies||Photovoltaics, Solar Hot Water Heating, other renewables|
|Amount||Dependent on municipality|
|Required Documentation||Form PA-29|
|Official Web Site||https://www.nh.gov/oep/energy/saving-energy/incentives.htm|
New Hampshire allows cities and towns to exempt renewable energy installations from local property taxes. Among these are PV, solar thermal, wind and central wood-fired heating systems, not including stoves or fireplaces. The property tax exemption excludes the value of the solar energy system from being included in the value of the property when it comes to taxation at the state level.
According to New Hampshire, 84 cities and towns have adopted at least one renewable energy property tax exemption. The exemptions are made based on data received from towns through its “annual municipal land use regulation database survey.” If people live in a city or town that offers such an exemption, people can qualify for the exemption by completing the Department of Revenue Administration’s Form PA-29.
While the state said interested parties should consult with local officials to find out about the status of local tax exemptions, it warns that some officials may not be aware that the municipality offers such exemptions (the law was enacted 30 years ago).
The state also offers help to those seeking to enact such an exemption through its procedures for adopting local property tax exemptions and sample warrant articles.
|Technologies||Photovoltaics and Wind Energy|
|Amount||$0.75 per DC watt up to $3,750 or 50 percent of system cost, whichever is less.|
|Required Documentation||PV systems must be UL 1703 certified and comply with building code.|
|Official Web Site||http://www.puc.nh.gov/|
The state was still accepting applications for this rebate as of August, 2012, but all of the funds had been claimed. New applications were being added to a waiting list.
The rebate resulted from 2008 legislation that established a 20 percent renewable energy portfolio standard for utilities. The rebate, after some adjustments over the years, is $0.75 per watt up to $3,750 or 50 percent of the cost of the system, depending on which is less.
Photovoltaic (PV) systems must have a peak generation capacity of less than five kilowatts (kW), must be located at the owner's residence, and must be certified as meeting UL 1703 by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory. Small wind turbines must have a manufacturer's rated maximum output of less than 5 kW (at wind speed of 11 m/s) and be located at the owner's residence. If there is no rated capacity at that speed, the closest speed at which the manufacturer rates the output will be considered. No roof-top systems will be accepted, and the average wind speed at the site should be at least 10 miles per hour. All wind turbines must be mounted at least 30 feet above any obstruction within 500-foot radius. Both grid-tied and off-grid systems are eligible. Equipment must meet applicable safety standards, and facilities must meet local zoning regulations.
Solar hot water systems are not included in this rebate. There is a separate incentive program for solar thermal installations.
|Program Type||Net Metering|
|Amount||Left up to utility with a system capacity limit of 1 MW and aggregate capacity limit of 50MW|
|Required Documentation||Interconnection agreement with local utility|
|Official Web Site||https://www.nh.gov/oep/energy/saving-energy/incentives.htm|
As of July 13, 2012, combined heat-and-power systems can account for up to 4 megawatts of the state's aggregate net-metering capacity of 50 megawatts.
Under New Hampshire’s net-metering rules, all utilities are required to participate. Homeowners and system owners can net meter renewable energy systems up to 100 kW in size. The state requires that net excess generation is credited toward future bills, but it did not establish the rate at which excess generation is compensated. However, utilities can establish what payment incentives they will offer their customers for net excess generation.
Each utility's aggregate limit is determined by calculating the utility's share of the state's overall capacity and the state's aggregate solar capacity limit of 50 megawatts.
Net excess generation is carried over from one bill to the next until the end of the year, when the utility customer can elect to receive payment for the net excess generation.
Property Tax Incentive
State Grant Program
State Loan Program
State Rebate Program
Utility Grant Program
Utility Loan Program
Utility Rebate Program
Rules, Regulations & Policies
Building Energy Code
Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Public Benefits Fund
Renewables Portfolio Standard
Solar Access Law/Guideline
Related Programs & Initiatives
The U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC) provides a wide range of information and resources to enable the use of alternative fuels and other petroleum-reduction options, such as advanced vehicles, fuel blends, idle reduction and fuel economy. The AFDC site offers a database of state and federal laws and incentives related to alternative fuels and vehicles, air quality, fuel efficiency, and other transportation-related topics.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Green Power Network provides news and information on green power markets and activities, including opportunities to buy green power. This site provides state-by-state information on green power marketing and utility green power programs. In addition, the site lists marketers of renewable energy credits (RECs), also known as green tags or renewable energy certificates, which represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) enables low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy-efficient. Through this program, weatherization service providers install energy-efficiency measures in the homes of qualifying homeowners free of charge. The WAP program web site offers a state-by-state map of opportunities, projects and activities.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America site provides state-by-state information on wind projects and activities, including wind working groups, validated wind maps, anemometer loan programs, small wind guides, state-specific news, wind for schools, workshops and web casts.