(Opinion) Solar: a more resilient energy source
The technology is a way to avoid unpredictable electric rate hikes
Last June, Eversource, New Hampshire’s largest utility, announced its intention to increase rates. Since then, every major New Hampshire utility has followed suit.
The result: NH Electric Co-op rates have increased by 77 percent, Liberty Utilities’ had risen 100 percent, and Eversource’s a whopping 112 percent. On Dec. 1, Unitil increased rates 89 percent, from 17.9 to 33.7 cent per kWh. (Eversource more recently announced a 10 percent decrease to their rates starting in December, but even with the decrease, ratepayers are still left paying electric bills significantly higher than they are used to.)
The result has been a record-breaking number of people reaching out for solar as a way to take control of where their power comes from and how much they pay for it.
New Hampshire lacks the natural resources to be energy independent. We rely on imports from other parts of the world. The war in Ukraine has caused a decrease in supply as well as supply chain issues that have driven up prices to unprecedented levels. Because of our state’s heavy dependence on the international energy market, New Hampshire ratepayers have felt the brunt of this instability as their electric bills have more than doubled over the last six months.
New Hampshire has become victim to an ever-decreasing natural resource and an incredibly unstable international market that is not likely to level out any time soon. Alternatively, there are New England states that have committed themselves to a “green” future by investing in renewable energy are not seeing these massive rate hikes.
The individual choice to go solar also has a positive impact on our community. Net-metered solar power feeds back into the grid and allows excess production of clean energy to be used by others connected to the grid. As more Granite Staters go solar, it will offset the amount of natural gas that is needed to power our community.
Going solar can insulate you from future rate hikes and, in the long run, save you money.
Option one: You can finance your solar array and lock in a consistent monthly loan payment. Instead of depending on and paying for the utilities to provide energy, you would now be creating your own energy on-site. Your monthly electrical bill to the utility would be replaced by a monthly loan payment. This payment remains consistent throughout the duration of your loan — not spike like your electric bill does.
Option two: If you decide you would like to pay for your solar array outright, you are investing against future rate hikes for the next 30 years — 30 years of an increasing monthly electrical bill far outweighs the up-front cost of your solar array for the duration of its life span.
Both options can lead to the same destination, energy independence. Remove yourself from the burden of fossil fuel dependence and wisely invest in local energy. It is safe to say that after the year we’ve had with record-breaking electrical prices, we are tired and fed up with the uncertainty of our monthly bills. Solar, although a larger up-front investment, will always protect New Hampshire residents from any future energy price uncertainties.
Lilly Baron is communications coordinator for Granite State Solar, Bow.