Utility Eversource Seeks To Offer Community Solar Program
Surplus Generation Purchases To Be Recovered Through Default Service Rates; Other Costs Via Distribution Rates
June 4, 2019 Email This Story Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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Public Service Company of New Hampshire d/b/a Eversource Energy petitioned the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission
for approval of a proposed "Clean Innovation Community Solar"
pilot program for low and moderate income ("LMI") customers.
Under the program, Eversource would provide bill credits to Electric Assistance Program ("EAP") customers within specified zip codes of shared solar facilities selected via RFP. EAP customers would not have to enroll into the program; the provision of credits would be automatic.
"By having Eversource identify and manage the customers within that group,
the Company would be relieving the developer of the burden of recruiting eligible LMI
customers to participate," Eversource said
EAP customers in the program would receive bill credits based on the surplus generation of the facility and a "generation adjustment" identified by the host
The generation adjustment is an amount per kWh that will be deducted from the default
service rate to determine payment for surplus generation to the host. For example, if the
applicable default service rate were 10 cents per kWh in a billing cycle and the
generation adjustment were 1 cent per kWh, Eversource would provide payment to the
host for surplus generation during that billing cycle at 9 cents per kWh (10 minus 1).
The application of the generation adjustment is intended to produce a payment for surplus
generation that replicates the net revenues a group host would receive after it shared proceeds from the distribution company for surplus generation with group members, Eversource said. The
generation adjustment will be identified by participating hosts in their application for the
Clean Innovation Community Solar pilot and will remain fixed for the duration of their
participation in the pilot.
The customer credit will be a dollar amount credited on the bills of EAP customers in
communities identified by the host. It
will be based upon the generation adjustment for a solar facility and its surplus
generation. The customer credit will be calculated by multiplying surplus generation by the
generation adjustment and dividing that total by the number of bills to be issued to EAP
customers each billing cycle in the communities served by a solar facility
Eversource would assume the burden of actually calculating and providing credits on the electric bills of EAP customers
Eversource will not assess any charges to EAP customers in connection with their participation in the
program and the host customer or any other entity will be prohibited from seeking
payments from participating EAP customers.
Selected participants will be eligible to receive payment for surplus generation pursuant
to the proposed mechanism for a term of 10 years from the start of commercial operation
of participating facilities. EAP customers will receive the customer credit or a
comparable benefit for the same 10-year term
Under the pilot, Eversource is proposing to select community solar projects totaling up to 20 MW
Eversource expects that a 20 MW program could
support customer credits for as many as 4,000 EAP customers or nearly 20 percent of all
current EAP customers.
Eversource proposes to permit projects up to 5 MW to participate in the pilot (larger than the current 1.0 MW cap on net metered facilities)
Eversource would use a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) process to solicit solar developers willing to build solar generation projects benefitting LMI customers.
Eversource said that compensation it will pay for surplus generation is estimated to be $38 million over the ten-year
term of the program. Compensation for surplus generation is based upon the estimated
output of 20 MW of solar generation capacity and the Company’s current default energy
service rate of 9.985 cents per kWh plus additional compensation for low-income
community solar projects authorized by SB 165 (SB 165 directs that such
facilities be provided an additional 3 cents per kWh from July 1, 2019 through July 1,
2021 and an additional 2.5 cents per kWh thereafter). Compensation for surplus generation includes $6.0 million in estimated credit to be transferred to EAP customers through the
proposed sharing mechanism.
"The Company proposes to recover payments for surplus generation through the same
mechanism that it recovers other net metering credits and payments. At this time net
metering credits and payments are treated as energy purchases and recovered through the
Company’s default energy service charge, so the Company would similarly recover costs
associated with surplus generation of pilot participants," Eversource said
Other costs related to the pilot, estimated at $5 million, would be recovered via distribution rates. Specifically, costs related to various billing system modifications, consultants, customer education and outreach, and incremental staff would be recovered via the Distribution Rate Adjustment Mechanism (DRAM) proposed in Eversource's pending base distribution rate case.