The Derry Town Council has thrown its support behind increased opportunities for residents and businesses to harness and use solar power.
At the Feb. 16 Council meeting, Chairman Tom Cardon read a letter to the state legislature endorsing net metering legislation currently in the House of Representatives and recently passed by the New Hampshire Senate.
At issue is the net metering “cap” of 50 MW (megawatts) for the entire state, which was set more than 20 years ago. The Senate bill, SB 333, asks for that cap to be increased from 50 MW to 75 MW. The Council letter points out that even 75 MW is not adequate, and that the state could exhaust that cap by the middle of this year.
The House bill is HB 1116. It is currently in committee and was scheduled for its final committee hearing Feb. 12. The House bill also raises the cap to 75 MW, but provides a clause for researching and implementing so-called “alternative tariffs.”
The letter states, “We ask that you consider getting rid of the cap or raise it significantly,” and notes that other New England states have done so.
Cardon read that Derry alone is “rapidly approaching 1MW of solar power in the very near future.” In 2015 Derry saw an increase in solar installations from nine to 78, due in part to the successful Solar Up campaign this past fall. The town’s renewable power production increased from 43 kW to 667 kW.
In addition, Cardon stated, more than 260 home and business owners have expressed an interest in solar, but are hesitant because of the cap.
The Council voted 7-0 to sign the letter.