New Mexico Poised for Job, Economic Growth as Community Solar Bill Seeks Senate Support

February 20th, 2019

New Mexico Could Gain More than 800 Jobs with Passage of Community Solar Act

In a 45-25 vote, the New Mexico House of Representatives passed the Community Solar Act (HB210), a bill to that gives renters, low- moderate-income households, tribal communities, and many others equitable access to clean energy and lower electricity costs. The bill will now head to the state Senate. The House vote coincides with new analysis from Vote Solar, a nonprofit solar advocacy group, showing huge potential for strong job and economic development benefits of community solar in New Mexico.

To understand the benefits associated with the Community Solar Act, Vote Solar used the Jobs and Economic Impact (JEDI) Model developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to reasonably estimate the employment, earnings and economic impacts from the construction and operation of these community solar energy facilities. The JEDI model estimates that based on the development of 375 MW of new community solar development by 2025, New Mexico could see significant economic development growth, including:

  • A 33% increase in solar employment, adding more than 800 full-time jobs
  • $219.6 million in earnings for those employed
  • $453.5 million in local economic benefits for the state, excepting local tax revenues.

The JEDI statistics yield an average of $30 million of economic benefits each year during the 25-year minimum life of the solar projects.

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“New Mexican families deserve the right to tap into our state’s plentiful sunshine and access the benefits of solar,” said Art Terrazas, Interior West Director at Vote Solar. “Community solar means that all New Mexico families and tribes, regardless of income or any other factors, can save money. Now we also know that community solar would bring much-needed jobs and local investments to our state, playing a critical role growing New Mexico’s clean energy economy.”

“We applaud Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero and the New Mexico House for advancing the Community Solar Act,” said Jeff Cramer, executive director for the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA). “The estimated economic benefits that community solar can offer New Mexico represent the tremendous potential to spur a new wave of private investment in clean energy development across the state.”

With HB210, New Mexico residents can choose to participate in a local community solar installation, saving money on their own bill while participating in the state’s growing clean energy economy. Today, 19 states and the District of Columbia allow community solar programs, creating thousands of jobs and spurring local economic investments in those states

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About Vote Solar: Since 2002, Vote Solar has been working to lower solar costs and expand solar access. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Vote Solar advocates for state policies and programs needed to repower our electric grid with clean energy. Learn more at www.votesolar.org

Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) is a national Coalition of businesses and non-profits working to expand customer choice and access to solar to all American households and businesses through community solar. Community solar refers to local solar facilities shared by multiple community subscribers who receive credits on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced. Community solar provides homeowners, renters, and businesses equal access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy generation regardless of the physical attributes or ownership of their home or business. Community solar expands access to solar for all, including low-to-moderate income customers, all while building a stronger, distributed, and more resilient electric grid. For more information, visit our website at www.communitysolaraccess.org, follow us on Twitter at @solaraccess and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/communitysolaraccess.