The Public Utilities Commission announced the temporary closure of the Residential Solar and Wind Rebate program and the Commercial and Industrial Solar Rebate program due to fiscal year 2018 budget constraints and the large number of waitlisted applications.
Funding for these rebate programs comes from the Renewable Energy Fund, or REF. The REF is funded through alternative compliance payments, or ACPs, received from electric providers. Under New Hampshire law, a certain percentage of energy supplied must be from renewable fuels and resources. Electric providers who cannot purchase enough renewable energy or who cannot get it at a reasonable price are allowed to meet this requirement through an alternative compliance payment into the REF.
According to Karen Cramton, director of the Commission’s Sustainable Energy Division, electricity providers file annual compliance payments and reports for the prior calendar year by July 1.
“While we have an approximate idea on July 1st of the funding that may be available for all REF programs,” stated Cramton, “the reports and payments must be validated and a final budget approved by the commission before we know with certainty how much program funding we will have.” The validation process is typically completed sometime in September. “Following the completion of the validation process, fiscal year program budgets are developed and submitted to the commission for approval,” noted Cramton.
The programs themselves may also be changed. Unaudited ACP revenues for 2016, the funding source for the fiscal year 2018 rebate programs, are approximately $3.6 million. The commission may consider changes to the program terms and conditions prior to the programs reopening. An opportunity for public input would be provided before any program changes would be made by the commission.
To stay up-to-date on the status of the rebate programs, visit the commission’s webpage at puc.nh.gov.