New Hampshire net metering and solar incentives

Thinking of going solar in New Hampshire? Here’s an up-to-date summary of the most important net metering policies, rebates, and other facts you need to know.

Photo of the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

Is net metering available in New Hampshire?

Yes! Net metering is currently available from all electric utilities in New Hampshire. Credits for excess generation are banked and rolled over to the next month. Such credits may be carried forward indefinitely, but customers may elect to be paid for their credits at the avoided cost rate, which will be lower than the residential retail rate for electricity.

The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission website has the complete text of the current net metering rules.

Your utility will have important additional details:

Also, be sure to read our guide to net metering to help you understand how net metering affects the financial payback of your solar energy system.

What solar incentives are available in New Hampshire?

The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission currently offers a significant rebate for residents who install renewable energy systems on their home.

The rebate is $0.20 per installed watt, up to a maximum of $1,000. This means that if you installed a 3 kW system, you’ll get $600 cash back from NHPUC. If you install a 5 kW or larger system, you’ll receive the maximum $1,000 back.

The application is a two-step process. There is a pre-approval application that you submit before you start installation of the system.

The second application is mailed in after the installation is completed. Both applications are mailed in. For some reason, they don’t accept electronic submissions.

Your solar installer will work with you to make sure that the applications have the correct information and are completed correctly.

Check out the NHPUC page for more information.

Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemption

New Hampshire gives local municipalities the option to offer a property tax exemption for renewable energy systems. This means that if you add a renewable energy system to your home, such as solar or a micro wind turbine, your property tax assessment will not increase because of the added value of that system.

While the absolute value of a property tax exemption on solar is relatively small in absolute dollars, because you should expect your system to last 25 years or even more, the cumulative impact of this exemption really adds up over the years.

For example, let’s say that your photovoltaic system is worth $20,000. (The value of the system for property tax purposes would be on the value of the system before any rebates.) The average property tax in New Hampshire in 2019 is 2.19%. This means that your solar system would increase your property taxes by $438 per year. Over 25 years, assuming that rates remain the same, this adds up to $10,950.

That ends up being a significant amount. Good thing that New Hampshire offers a property tax exemption.

The NH Office of Strategic Initiatives has further details about the renewable energy property tax exemption.

Does New Hampshire have a solar access law that addresses homeowners associations?

No.

New Hampshire Statutes Section 477:50 does allow for the creation of solar easements, but this doesn’t directly prevent an HOA from enacting bylaws that restrict a homeowner from installing solar panels on their home.

A solar easement is a contract that two parties can enter into that protects sunlight from being obstructed on a property. For example, the easement may specify that trees on a neighboring property can be trimmed to prevent them from shading the solar panels on a house next door.

Solar easements are contracts that both parties must agree to, so it doesn’t provide immediate protections from an HOA. Here’s the text of the statute:

477:50 Creation of a Solar Skyspace Easement. –

I. A solar skyspace easement may be acquired and transferred and shall be recorded in the same manner as any other conveyance of an interest in real property. The easement shall run with the land benefited and burdened and shall terminate upon the conditions stated in the instrument creating the easement or upon court decree based upon abandonment or changed conditions or as provided in RSA 477:26; provided, however, that no planning board may require a landowner to grant an easement.

II. An instrument creating a solar skyspace easement shall include, but not be limited to:
(a) 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 description which describes the 3-dimensional space, or the place and times of day in which an obstruction to solar energy is prohibited or limited;
(b) Terms or conditions under which the easement is granted or shall be terminated;
(c) Provisions for compensation of the benefited landowner in the event of interference with the enjoyment of the easement or compensation of the burdened landowner for maintaining the easement; and
(d) A description of the real property subject to the solar skyspace easement and a description of the real property benefiting from the solar skyspace easement.

III. A solar skyspace easement shall not terminate within 10 years after its creation unless an earlier termination is expressly stated in the instrument or is otherwise negotiated by the owners of the benefited and burdened land. The easement may be enforced by proceedings in equity and by actions at law for damages.
Source. 1985, 369:3, eff. Aug. 17, 1985.

Is virtual/aggregate net metering (community solar) available in New Hampshire?

Yes. Virtual net metering was established in 2013 by Senate Bill 98. The NH Public Utilities Commission has the latest rules regarding community solar projects.

I’m not aware of any open community solar projects in New Hampshire at the moment. If you know of any, let me know.

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