New Solar Opportunities for New Hampshire Municipalities

Mark Zankel, Director of Community Solar Farms at ReVision Energy

Why is Everyone Talking about Solar in New Hampshire?

More than ever, municipalities across New Hampshire are exploring the financial and environmental benefits of going solar. How do we know this? Because our co-owners are talking with municipal partners, evaluating municipal lands, responding to municipal RFP/RFQs, and developing and constructing municipal solar projects every day.

And why is it such a great time for municipalities to look at solar opportunities? There are a host of reasons including: (1) Lowering electricity costs and saving taxpayer money; (2) Advancing renewable energy goals; (3) Contributing to climate solutions; and (4) Supporting local businesses and jobs.

Recent federal and state policy changes have made the skies even sunnier. In New Hampshire, HB 281 was passed with strong bipartisan support and signed into law in August. This bill expanded group net metering opportunities for local governmental entities by removing the arbitrary geographic restriction that had been in place for 1-5 megawatt solar arrays. Now, any city, town, county, school administrative unit, water district, sewer district, public housing authority, or other qualified local governmental entity can participate in a solar farm located anywhere within their utility’s service district (previously the array had to be located within the same municipality). No facilities required, no capital expenditure, and an easy way for municipalities to receive solar energy rebate payments while supporting local, clean renewable energy.

Communities can also host solar farms on their lands, with the energy produced going to offset electricity use in the host community or elsewhere in the utility service district. At the federal level, significant financial incentives previously available only to private individuals and businesses have now been extended to municipalities and other public and nonprofit entities through the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. Collectively, these policy improvements are helping to democratize access to the economic and environmental benefits of community solar.

Solar Energy – There’s a Lot of it, it is Cheap, and it’s Helping to Save the Planet!

Think about this - the amount of solar energy hitting the Earth in one hour is more than enough to power the world for one year. And while solar previously had a rap as “too expensive” for budget-conscious towns and consumers, that is no longer the case (and hasn’t been for several years). The cost of solar declined by 40% in the last decade. Meanwhile, the cost of electricity in New Hampshire has been rising.  Simply put, solar customers are saving a lot of money on their energy costs.  For municipalities, this can potentially add up to millions of dollars of savings over the life of a solar project.

With solar costs coming down and electricity costs going up, it’s no wonder that solar is growing by leaps and bounds. In 2022, a new solar project was installed every 44 seconds, and solar comprised nearly half of all new electricity generating capacity built in the U.S.  Today, there are more than 4.4 million solar energy systems in the United States, providing more than 5% of U.S. electricity (more than 10x its share a decade ago). Some states have reached 20% or more solar, including in our region. New Hampshire has 234MW of installed solar, enough to power nearly 38,000 homes, and installations are on the rise (see chart below).


In addition to providing lower-cost energy, going solar is good for the planet. More and more New Hampshire communities are setting renewable energy and climate goals, and solar can be one of the most tangible and turnkey ways for a municipality to make progress. Across the U.S., solar energy systems in place today are reducing carbon emissions by 175 million metric tons annually. To give that number some context, it equates to taking 39 million vehicles off the road; not using 20 billion gallons of gas; planting 2.8 billion trees; and closing 47 coal-fired power plants.

How are New Hampshire Municipalities Collaborating with Solar Developers to “Go Solar”?

Solar developers like ReVision are partnering with communities in a variety of ways:

  • Designing and constructing rooftop and ground-mount solar arrays to power municipal facilities; ​
  • Leasing municipal land for community solar farms, providing a new source of municipal revenue and serving residential, business, nonprofit and municipal energy users​;
  • Re-developing brownfields and other formerly contaminated/disturbed sites into solar farms, which now benefit from special federal incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act;
  • Offering power purchase agreements (PPAs) and community solar rebate programs that allow municipalities to enjoy significant long-term savings on energy costs; and,
  • Helping to secure grant funds and other creative financing mechanisms that expand access to solar benefits for low and moderate-income households.

Each of these opportunities for municipalities has been enhanced by the federal and state policies highlighted above.

Looking Ahead

New Hampshire is making progress on solar, however we continue to lag behind our neighboring states as this chart shows:


We expect New Hampshire’s percentage to trend upwards, as policy changes have expanded opportunities for all those interested in going solar, and particularly for municipalities, school districts, public housing authorities and other small governmental entities in the Granite State.

Careful analysis of the value of solar on the grid from the NH Dept. of Energy finds that as more municipalities go solar, they save money not just for themselves but also for the public at large.

To accelerate the transition to clean, locally generated and lower-cost renewable energy, and to provide even more opportunities for New Hampshire communities to go solar in the years to come, here are a few things that would make a big difference:

  • Make further improvements to State policy, particularly in net metering and our renewable portfolio standards.
  • Establish meaningful local and statewide climate and clean energy goals (we are the only state in New England lacking such);
  • Equitably address the growing challenge and costs of interconnecting renewable energy systems into our electric grid.

Local solar businesses stand ready to help municipalities and policy-makers explore the many economic and environmental benefits of solar energy. With so many new and enhanced opportunities available, there has never been a better time for New Hampshire communities to go solar.

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Mark Zankel is the Director of Community Solar Farms at ReVision Energy. He can be reached at or 603.491.7848 



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