Comment Period for Community Solar Legislation Closes, Rulemaking Proceeds

January 26th, 2022

Advocates applaud progress and urge timely process for program implementation

SANTA FE, NM– The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) advanced proposed rules late last year to implement the expansion of solar access for all New Mexicans. The public comment process on the PRC rule to implement New Mexico’s Community Solar Act (CSA) came to an end on January 25, and the PRC is required to issue the final rules by April 1.

Stakeholders who helped to develop recommendations for implementation of the CSA are applauding the PRC for having conducted a smooth and thorough process to determine how best to offer community solar to New Mexicans.

“Community solar is going to be a game-changer for New Mexico,” said Beth Beloff, Executive Director of the Coalition of Sustainable Communities New Mexico. “Expanding access to renewable energy while also cutting costs, especially for our low-income households, is going to change lives in this state. The PRC has done a great job throughout this process, and soon we’ll be able to do even more to build a thriving and sustainable economy built on clean energy that benefits all New Mexicans.”

Comprised of advocates including state legislators, environmental groups, tribal community leaders, utilities, clean energy and sustainability experts, a working group proposed a series of recommendations for the CSA rules that will ensure equal access to and equity in the new community solar program.

The proposed rules advanced by the PRC are based on this stakeholder input and range from siting projects to signing up subscribers, choosing which community solar projects will serve customers and creating an equitable and sustainable long term program.

Through community solar, customers can enjoy equal access to the benefits of solar generation by subscribing to small local solar arrays and supporting local solar development. They then receive a credit on their utility bill for their share of the power that is produced, just as if the panels were on their own roof.

Community solar is a key component of clean energy access and equity because 75 percent of American households cannot connect with solar power because they either rent, live in a multi-tenant building or have roofs unable to host a solar system.

Enacted in 2021, New Mexico was the 21st state to adopt a Community Solar Program. Projects are capped at 5 MW and will expand access to community solar to disadvantaged communities, with a carve out of 30 percent of capacity per project dedicated to low-income customers and service organizations.

A report by the New Mexico Bureau of Business and Economic Research found that the community solar program could create over $500 million in economic impact for New Mexico and create and sustain 3,760 jobs.

“We applaud the dedicated work of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission to implement the CSA and adhere to a timeline for formal adoption that brings its benefits to New Mexicans as soon as possible,” said Kevin Cray, Mountain West Regional Director for Coalition for Community Solar Access. “This community solar program will usher in a brighter energy future that delivers customer choice as well as economic and environmental benefits for New Mexicans for years to come.”

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About Coalition for Community Solar Access

The Coalition for Community Solar Access is a national Coalition of businesses and non-profits working to expand customer choice and access to solar for all American households and businesses through community solar. Our mission is to empower every American energy consumer with the option to choose local, clean, and affordable community solar. We work with customers, utilities, local stakeholders, and policymakers to develop and implement policies and best practices that ensure community solar programs provide a win, win, win for all, starting with the customer. For more information, visit https://www.communitysolaraccess.org and follow the group on Facebook.