New Hampshire Solar Rebates And Incentives

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New Hampshire Rebates and Incentives Summary

New HampshireThe 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.

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Building Energy Code

Noted: Much of the information presented in this summary is drawn from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Energy Codes Program and the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP). For more detailed information about building energy codes, visit the DOE and BCAP web sites.

New Hampshire adopted a mandatory statewide building code in 2002 based on the 2000 IECC. S.B. 81, enacted in July 2007, upgraded the New Hampshire Energy Code to the 2006 IECC. In December 2009, the New Hampshire Energy Code was again updated. The New Hampshire State Building Code Review Board adopted the IECC 2009 as the

Commercial & Industrial Renewable Energy Grants

Note: The deadline for the most recent round of funding under this program was October 28, 2016. This summary is provided for reference only. Contact the PUC about the possibility of future funding rounds under this program.

The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) offers grant funding for renewable energy projects installed at commercial, industrial, public, non-profit, municipal or school facilities, or multi-family residences with at least three units. The minimum award is $150,000, and the maximum award is $1 million.

Eligible forms of energy include electricity or useful thermal energy generated from wind, ocean thermal, wave, current, tidal,

Commercial & Industrial Solar Rebate Program

The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission initiated a new solar rebate program for non-residential applicants in November 2010. Funded by alternative compliance payments under the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS), this program supports solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar-thermal installations. 

Installations must be located in the state of New Hampshire, and the facility must be served by an investor-owned utility or rural electric utility that is required to comply with the state's RPS (municipal utilities are not required to comply with the state's RPS, and therefore their customers are not eligible for this program). Systems owned by third-parties and sited on

Enterprise Energy Fund Loans

The New Hampshire Community Loan Fund and the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA) offer the Enterprise Energy Fund. This revolving loan is funded through New Hampshire's State Energy Program allocation under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The purpose of the fund is to help business owners and non-profit organizations in the state make energy improvements for their buildings. 

A wide range of activities are eligible for funding including energy audits, whole building improvements, equipment and appliance upgrades, lighting upgrades, heating and cooling upgrades, solar thermal technologies, and renewable energy installations, among others. The CDFA and Community

Eversource - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Eversource (formerly Public Service of New Hampshire), in collaboration with NHSaves, provides incentives for residential customers to increase the energy efficiency of participating homes. Prescriptive rebates are available for the purchase of Energy Star rated clothes washers, refrigerators, room air conditioners, lighting, and for recycling inefficient refrigerators. Heating, cooling, and water heating incentives are also offered through Eversource and NHSaves.

Customers building new homes or undergoing complete renovations may also participate in the Energy Star Homes Program. These customers are eligible for rebates up to $4,000. A nationally certified Home Energy Rater (HERS Rater) is available for design assistance,

Interconnection Standards

Note: H.B. 1116, enacted in May 2016, raised New Hampshire's net metering aggregate capacity limit from 50 MW to 100 MW. The bill also directed the Public Utilities Commission to initiate a proceeding to develop new alternative net metering tariffs. This proceeding is currently underway.

New Hampshire requires all utilities selling electricity in the state to offer net metering to customers who own or operate systems up to one megawatt (MW) in capacity that generate electricity using solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, tidal, wave, biomass, landfill gas, bio-oil, or biodiesel. Combined heat and power (CHP) systems that use natural gas, wood

Liberty Utilities (Electric) - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs

Liberty Utilities offers incentives and technical support to help customers implement energy efficiency upgrades to existing homes or build an ENERGY STAR certified home. Eligible equipment includes clothes washers, room air conditioners, air purifiers, refrigerators, lighting, appliance recycling, and pool pumps. Incentives are also available for replacing old or inefficient HVAC equipment. Some rebates are given at the time of purchase while others require a mail-in application. See the program website listed above for specific requirements for each rebate.

The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program offers Liberty Utilities residential customers up to $4,000 in services for air sealing and

Local Option - Energy Efficiency & Clean Energy Districts

Note: In 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which has authority over mortgage underwriters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, directed these enterprises against purchasing mortgages of homes with a PACE lien due to its senior status above a mortgage. Most residential PACE activity subsided following this directive; however, some residential PACE programs are now operating with loan loss reserve funds, appropriate disclosures, or other protections meant to address FHFA's concerns. Commercial PACE programs were not directly affected by FHFA’s actions, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not underwrite commercial mortgages. Visit PACENation for more information about PACE financing

Local Option - Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy

New Hampshire allows cities and towns to offer an exemption from residential property taxes for the assessed value of a solar energy system, wind energy system, or wood-fired central heating system used on the property. A solar energy system is defined as a photovoltaic (PV) system or a system that "utilizes solar energy to heat or cool the interior of a building or to heat water for use in a building" and that includes one or more collectors and a storage container. Stoves and fireplaces do not qualify.

Cities and towns may adopt an exemption provision separately for each energy

Net Metering

Note: H.B. 1116, enacted in May 2016, raises New Hampshire's net metering aggregate capacity limit from 50 MW to 100 MW. The bill also directs the Public Utilities Commission to initiate a proceeding to develop new alternative net metering tariffs.

Eligibility

New Hampshire requires all utilities selling electricity in the state to offer net metering to customers who own or operate systems up to one megawatt (MW) in capacity that generate electricity using solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, tidal, wave, biomass, landfill gas, bio-oil, or biodiesel. Combined heat and power (CHP) systems that use natural gas, wood pellets, hydrogen, propane, or

New Hampshire Electric Co-op - Residential Energy Efficiency Loan

New Hampshire Electric Co-op offers On Bill Financing Loans to be used for eligible projects under the NHEC Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program for weatherization. This loan program can be combined with NHEC rebates under the same program. Loans are up to $4,000 at 0% interest for up to 48 months.

NHEC also offers loan subsidies as a part of their Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Buy down Program. These are to be used for eligible projects under the NHEC Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program for weatherization and for unrebated costs associated with the installation of High Efficiency Heat

New Hampshire Electric Co-op - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs

New Hampshire Electric Co-op provides a number of energy efficiency incentive programs for its residential members. First, members can receive a free Home Energy Analysis through the Home Performance with Energy Star Program. The analysis will examine the home's air sealing, insulation, equipment thermostats and insulation, as well as the energy consumption of the home's refrigerator. The NHEC representative may recommend certain improvements during the evaluation and offer 50% off the cost of the improvements up to a total of $4,000. An interest-free loan is available to help cover the remaining out-of-pocket costs for customers. 
Energy Star homes, lighting,

Renewable Portfolio Standard

New Hampshire’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS), established in May 2007, requires the state’s electricity providers -- with the exception of municipal utilities -- to acquire by 2025 renewable energy certificates (RECs) equivalent to 25.2% of retail electricity sold to end-use customers. The RPS includes four distinct standards for different types of energy resources; these are classified as Class I, Class II, Class III, and Class IV.

Class I - New Renewable Energy. This class addresses electricity or “useful thermal energy” generated by any of the following resources, provided the generator began operation after January 1, 2006, except as noted below:

Residential Bulk-Fed Wood-Pellet Central Boilers and Furnace Rebate Program

The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) offers rebates of 40% of the installed cost of qualifying new residential bulk-fed, wood-pellet central heating boilers or furnaces. The maximum rebate amount is $10,000. To qualify, systems must (1) become operational on or after May 1, 2012; (2) be at least 80% efficient; (3) meet certain air quality standards; (4) provide at least 75% of a home heating-load needs; and (5) be installed by a qualified installer or a licensed plumber with wood-pellet central boiler system training. Additional system requirements are specified in the program application. Modifications to existing systems are not

Residential Small Renewable Energy Rebate Program

Note: FY 2017 rebates are fully subscribed, and a waitlist has been established.

New Hampshire enacted legislation (H.B. 1628) in July 2008 requiring the state's Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to establish and administer a rebate program for certain renewable energy systems. There are two steps involved in the rebate application process. Step one is a pre-approval application; step two is the final application. Both steps must be completed to receive the incentive. Rebates are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The rebate is equal to $0.20 per watt of nominal generation capacity per residential owner of an eligible facility, up

Residential Solar Water Heating Rebates

New Hampshire offers rebates for residential solar water-heating systems. The rebate is equal to $1,500 for systems with an annual estimated output of 5.5 MMBTU to 19.9 MMBTU; $1,700 for systems with an annual estimated output of 20 MMBTU to 29.9 MMBTU; and $1,900 for systems with an annual estimated output of 30 MMBTU or more. Rebates will be awarded for eligible projects as long as program funding is available.

The application process consists of two steps. The first step is required for pre-approval and to reserve a rebate, and the second step is the final application for the rebate payment. Systems must be installed

Solar Easements

New Hampshire's "solar skyspace easement" provisions allow property owners to create solar easements in order to create and preserve a right to unobstructed access to solar energy. Easements remain in effect for at least 10 years, unless otherwise stated in writing. A model solar easement form is provided in New Hampshire Statutes Section 477:51.

An easement must include:

  • A description of the vertical and horizontal angles, expressed in degrees and measured from the site of the solar energy system, at which the solar skyspace easement extends over the real property subject to the solar skyspace easement, or any other

Standards for Municipal Small Wind Regulations and Model Ordinance

In July 2008, New Hampshire enacted legislation designed to prevent municipalities from adopting ordinances or regulations that place unreasonable limits on or hinder the performance of wind energy systems up to 100 kilowatts (kW) in capacity. Such wind turbines must be used primarily to produce energy for on-site consumption. The law identifies several possible restrictions that would be considered unreasonable:

  • The outright prohibition of small wind turbines (i.e., wind turbines up to 100 kW) in all districts of a municipality.
  • Generic height restrictions that do not specifically address the allowable tower height or system height of small wind turbines.
  • Property

System Benefits Charge

New Hampshire's 1996 electric industry restructuring legislation authorized the creation of a system benefits charge (SBC) to support energy efficiency programs and energy assistance programs for low-income residents. The total base SBC is 3.48 mills per kilowatt-hour ($0.00348/kWh). The SBC was increased in 2017 for the first time since 2001 from its former 3.3 mills per kWh ($0.0033/kWh), due to the state's energy efficiency resource standard, adopted in August 2016. 

The energy efficiency component of the charge is currently 1.98 mills per kWh ($0.00198/kWh) on electric bills (an increase of $0.00018 from the previous charge of $0.0018). The low-income

Unitil (Electric) - Residential Energy Efficiency Programs

Unitil offers New Hampshire residential customers a number of programs to encourage more energy efficient homes. Forms and details for each program are available on the website listed above.

The Energy Star Appliance Program provides rebates for swimming pool pumps, clothes dryers, clothes washers, refrigerators, dehumidifiers, room air purifiers, and room air conditioners.

The Energy Star Heating and Cooling Program offers rebates for central air conditioners, heat pumps, mini split systems, and heat pump water heaters. Rebates are also available for wi-fi thermostats accompanying a qualifying heat pump.

The Home Performance with Energy Star Program helps residential customers improve the

Unitil (Gas) - Residential Energy Efficiency Program

Unitil offers its New Hampshire residential gas customers a number of programs to encourage more energy efficient homes. The Home Performance with Energy Star Program is available to customers with higher than average energy bills. The program includes a home energy audit which identifies potential areas for energy efficiency improvements.  Qualifying improvements can result in a 50% utility rebate for the customer, up to $4,000.  Common energy savings improvements utilized by the program include:
  • Sealing air leaks and adding insulation
  • Improving heating and cooling systems
  • Sealing ductwork
  • Upgrading lighting, appliances, and water heating equipment
  • Installing renewable energy systems

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