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Record Demand Puts Popular N.H. Renewable Energy Rebate Program On Hold

Steve and Michelle Gerdes
Flicker CC

Due to record demand, the Public Utilities Commission is putting a state-managed rebate program for renewable energy investments on hold.

According to a letter issued by the PUC on Friday, both the Commercial and Industrial Solar Rebate Program, as well as the Residential Solar and Wind Rebate Program, are closed to new applicants until at least September 1st. The PUC points to high demand, as well as an application wait list valued at $1.5 million.

The residential rebate program provides a one-time incentive of up to $2,500 for installation of projects including new solar panels and wind turbines. According to the PUC, the program budget for fiscal year 2017 was approximately $2.4 million. As of May 23rd, the funds were fully reserved, and by the close of the fiscal year, on June 30th, the waitlist exceeded $500,000 in potential rebates. The PUC received more than 1,300 applications for the residential rebates last year.

The PUC funds the rebates through fees assessed on electric suppliers, called “alternative compliance payments.” Those payments fluctuate from year to year; this year’s payments were $4.9 million, while next year’s estimates are for $3.6 million.

In the letter, the PUC says it will not accept new ‘Step 1’ applications for either program until at least September 1st, and is returning all applications received after July 13th for the Commercial and Industrial Program. Applications received after June 30th for the Residential program will be returned.  

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
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