Solarize Lebanon-Enfield - June through October 2015

Kevin Lehman - SunCommon - IMG_0043-2

Volunteers in Lebanon and Enfield teamed up with Vital Communities in the summer and fall of 2015 to help residents go solar. The deadline to sign up was October 31.

Together, we helped 42 of our neighbors go solar! A huge thank you to everyone who helped make this possible, including our partner installer, Energy Emporium.

We’ll keep you informed as we finish up Solarize installs over the coming months. As of November 1, 2015, three installations were completed with a handful more expected before the snow falls. We expect the majority of installs to occur after the spring thaw in 2016.

Now is still a great time to go solar

Any installer will give you a site visit and quote for free. Get started by contacting an installer in your area. You can download a list of installers in the Upper Valley, or look for others in VERMONT or NEW HAMPSHIRE. Feel free to request multiple quotes and compare your options.

Our Volunteers

Contact Us

Be in touch – we’re here to help.

Solarize Lebanon-Enfield was led by a team of volunteers from the Lebanon Energy Advisory Council and Enfield Energy Committee. Feel free to contact us anytime. We can answer questions, put you in touch with a neighbor who already has solar, keep you in the loop about upcoming events, and point you to useful resources online.

We’d love to add you to our email list and keep you in the loop about future projects. You can contact us by emailing SolarizeLE@gmail.com.

What you need to know about NET METERING

What is “net metering”? Net metering allows customers to earn credits for extra solar energy produced when the sun is shining and use those credits toward electricity used when the sun isn’t shining (e.g. at night or in winter). NH law requires Liberty Utilities and other electric utilities to offer “net metering” on a first-come-first-serve basis until a pre-set “cap” is reached. Without net metering, it is possible to interconnect a solar array with the electric grid, but you won’t earn any credits. Without net metering or some alternative program, it will be very difficult to go solar and see a reasonable return on investment.

What happened? In the last week of July Liberty Utilities reached its net metering cap and will no longer approve applications for net metering until the legislature acts to raise the cap or change the state’s net metering rules.

What did Solarize Lebanon-Enfield do about it? On August 29, the Solarize Lebanon-Enfield and Solarize Hanover teams delivered a petition to Liberty Utilities from 341 residents, including 296 from towns served by Liberty Utilities. The Petition called for action toward the return of net metering. On September 1, nine members of the Solarize volunteer teams hosted a meeting with Michael Licata of Liberty Utilities to learn what Liberty is doing and what we can expect over the coming months. We left the call feeling confident that our voices have been heard.

When is net metering coming back? We don’t exactly know, but likely in the first months of 2016. A strong effort is underway (led by Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley) to present a bill to raise the net metering cap as early in the next legislative session as possible.  Stay tuned, we’ll update this page as we learn more. It is likely

After net metering returns, we expect to see changes within the next year – We expect net metering will return in its current form in early 2016. At some point later in 2016 (we don’t know exactly when) the Public Utilities Commission will likely adjust the rules around how much credit your utility has to give you for extra solar energy you produce. Those changes could affect your payback. Energy Emporium will be in close contact with the state over the next year. When the time comes to plan your install, Energy Emporium will make sure you understand and are comfortable with your net metering arrangement before you commit to moving forward with your install.

What is Liberty Utilities’ perspective on all this? In any long term solution, Liberty Utilities and other stakeholders want to see NH’s net metering rules updated rather than simply continued as they currently stand. Net metering is meant to compensate customers for the value of the extra energy they produce. Liberty is interested in re-assessing the level of credit customers receive for pumping extra solar energy onto the grid. Should residential solar customers receive the same level of credit as commercial scale customers? Are transmission fees fairly reflected in the credit received by solar producers who are effectively using the grid as a way to store excess energy for later use? In the next legislative session, the legislature will have to grapple with these questions and agree on a long term solution that works for the utilities, the solar developers, and average citizens who want to invest in solar.

YOU CAN HELP Bring Back Net Metering. 

  • Call your Electric Company. Ask about solar and net metering. (Liberty: 800-375-7413, Eversource: 800-662-7764, NHEC: 800-662-7764)
  • Contact your Legislators. Urge them to raise the net metering cap this October to allow your neighbors to continue investing in solar energy while the legislature considers a long term solution next session.
  • Contact Governor Hassan (governorhassan@nh.gov) We will need her support to expedite legislative action.

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Staff

Paige Heverly

Energy and Transportation Project Coordinator

Transportation, Energy

 802.291.9100 x 114

Transportation, Energy

— Paige Heverly, Energy and Transportation Project Coordinator

Paige Heverly joined Vital Communities in 2017 as the Energy and Transportation Project Coordinator. Hailing from the suburbs of Philadelphia, she moved to Vermont in 2011 and earned a joint BA in Renewable Energy and Ecological Design and Environmental Studies from Green Mountain College. After completing her Master of Energy Regulation and Law from Vermont Law School, Paige worked in energy efficiency consulting in Portland, Oregon. Her love of local food systems, the White River, and the Green Mountains brought her back to the Upper Valley to work on regional issues with localized solutions. Paige is passionate about closing ecological loops and treating waste as food. In her free time, she enjoys baking homemade English muffins, weeding her garden, and writing letters to her pen pals.



Sarah Brock

Energy Program Manager

Energy

 802.291.9100 x 109

Energy

— Sarah Brock, Energy Program Manager

Sarah Brock joined Vital Communities in 2013 as our Energy Program Manager. Through her work Sarah provides support for our region’s 40+ local energy committees, engaging with dozens of volunteers and clean energy businesses in programs like Solarize Upper Valley, Weatherize Upper Valley, and the Upper Valley Green Real Estate Network. Prior to joining the Vital Communities team, Sarah was an Environmental Philanthropy Associate with the High Meadows Fund, a supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation. Sarah now lives in Warner, New Hampshire, with her husband Zach and her chickens. When she's not busy advocating for energy efficiency, Sarah enjoys playing the trombone and taking walks in her backwoods to look for signs of New Hampshire's abundant wildlife.