In another huge win for solar, the New Mexico House of Representatives has just passed legislation that approved the first New Mexico community solar program. If approved by the New Mexico State Senate, this would open the door for even more people to go solar in New Mexico who might not be able to otherwise. People who rent or lease their homes, or whose homes aren’t suitable for solar panels can all benefit from this.
Community solar projects are a shared energy source, made up of dozens upon dozens of rows of solar panels. Typically, these solar panels are installed on ground mounts on a piece of land ideal for capturing a high rate of solar energy. It can be owned by the community, or by a third party such as an electric company. Those who want to become members subscribe to the project for a certain amount of electricity each month, which is generated by the solar panels. That solar power then offsets their monthly electric bill, increasing their overall savings. New Mexico community solar programs would bring great opportunities for New Mexicans to make their lives a little greener. The mayors of Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Las Cruces have all expressed support for such measures.
There are some guidelines included in the bill to help the management of New Mexico community solar projects. Those who wish to take advantage of this system would have to subscribe to at least 1 kW, but no more than 25 kW. Furthermore, only 60% of each project could be subscribed to those who sign up for 25 kW. This is to ensure that residents have full access to solar, as commercial entities typically require up to, and more than 25 kW. By ensuring that only so much space is available for commercial groups, residents will have a greater chance of joining a New Mexico community solar project. Finally, no single subscriber would be allowed to have a stake in a community solar project of 60% or greater.
With both the proposed state solar tax credit, and community solar one step closer to reality, New Mexico is making waves in the world of green energy. New Mexico community solar projects would allow more people go green without having to own a home, and with success, other states may follow suit and start looking into making community solar available to residents as well.