For many years, the choice between low energy costs and reducing carbon footprint has created a dilemma for New England businesses. In Maine, commercial users no longer need to choose between the two. Through virtual net energy billing, businesses can instead reduce energy costs while supporting the growth of renewable solar power in their home state.
What is Virtual Net Energy Billing?
Virtual Net Energy Billing (NEB) gives commercial businesses in the state of Maine the ability to become a “virtual off-taker” of a local solar farm. By doing so, the end user receives either a direct kwh reduction on their invoice or a per kwh monetary credit equal to 75% of the transmission and distribution costs plus 100% of the supply costs for their rate class. The solar farm is inter-connected with the regional electricity grid (CMP or Emera), and each month that electricity is delivered to the grid, credits are allocated to each off taker. Businesses do not need to expend any capital or use rooftop/land space in order to participate.
What are the Benefits?
The benefits of becoming a virtual NEB off-taker in Maine are two-fold. First and foremost, the monetary savings are significant, ranging from 10-20% annual reduction to utility spend. Second, most projects cannot be built without the participation of virtual off-takers, as they allow the solar developers to recoup their investment. This means a business receiving solar NEB credits can tout that they are directly influencing the growth and development of local solar power flowing to their local utility grid. These contracts work in conjunction with your competitive electricity contract, allowing for stacked benefits and easy integration.
5 Year Credit Example:
*Allocated kwh assumes 0.05% system degradation annually
**Tarriff credit value expected to increase 1.5% annually
What are the Requirements?
The NEB program is designed to be accessible, however some of the typical contractual terms associated with solar are still in play. Developers typically want an off taker to commit to receiving credits for 20 years. This gives the parties involved in development and financing adequate time to recoup their investment in building and maintaining the solar facilities, but also maximizes savings potential for the end user and allows for grandfathering should any future incentives change.
In order to receive credits, your business must be located within the same utility territory in which the solar project is situated. Credit off-takers receive 100% of the NEB credit on their utility bill, and reimburse between 80-90% back to the developer, ultimately saving between 10-20% on utility costs. To maximize savings, it is recommended that your competitive supply charges be consolidated onto one monthly invoice from your local utility, a process that FEL’s team is happy to assist with.
Project space is filling up quickly, so please contact an FEL agent today to learn more about your businesses eligibility to become a credit off taker from a local solar facility.
About Freedom Energy Logistics: FEL is an energy management firm based in Auburn, N.H., that specializes in unique methods of electricity and natural gas supply purchasing. Founded in 2006, FEL serves the region’s largest manufacturers, municipalities and businesses. Pioneering the ‘Direct-to-Grid’ movement, many of Freedom’s customers source wholesale energy direct from the ISO NE Pool. FEL is among the thought leaders for Community Choice Aggregation in New Hampshire. FEL is named twice to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in America and to the list of Fastest-Growing Family Businesses in NH by Business New Hampshire Magazine. Stay Work Play’s Coolest Company for Young Professionals. Led by father and son duo Gus and Bart Fromuth, they were awarded Business Excellence Awards from New Hampshire Business Review in 2019 and 2016. For more information visit www.felpower.com or call 603.625.2244.