CONCORD — Gov. Chris Sununu on Monday vetoed House Bill 365, the latest effort by the state Legislature to encourage bigger solar energy projects in the state.
The bill changes the limit on net metering. Net metering enables the owners of solar panels to sell excess energy back into the grid. HB 365 changes the limit from 1 megawatt to 5 megawatts.
That would set the stage for some large commercial or municipal solar arrays that are now in the planning stages.
The governor and other opponents have argued that the higher-priced solar energy sold back into the grid increases costs for customers not benefiting from solar installations.
“This bill is a regressive cost burden on all citizens that benefits large-scale solar developers while hurting all ratepayers, including the elderly and those on fixed incomes,” said Sununu in his veto statement.
“We should not force our ratepayers to massively subsidize those who can afford to construct 40-acre solar farms.”
Supporters argue that the rate impact is minimal while the savings on transmission costs would be substantial, since the electricity is generated locally.
“With his veto pen, Gov. Sununu is holding New Hampshire back from making progress on clean energy jobs, lowering electric rates and property taxes, and building a better future for our children,” said Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes, D-Concord. “Governor Sununu’s veto is a big win for out-of-state fossil fuel interests and a big loss for New Hampshire families, businesses and communities.”
Sununu successfully vetoed a similar bill last year, but this year’s version passed both House and Senate with veto-proof margins, so a successful override vote at some point in the near future is more likely.