New Mexico Supreme Court Approves Community Solar Act: A Game-Changer for Green Energy

Hello Solar Enthusiasts,

I trust you’re as infused with the vitality of the sun as your solar panels are! Today, we’re journeying to the Land of Enchantment – New Mexico – to learn more about a groundbreaking precedent in the solar industry. This precedent reaffirms the commitment of the country’s solar companies in delivering affordable solar energy to everyone, especially those of us considering solar panels for our home.

It all began when three investor-owned utilities in New Mexico tried to challenge the state’s community solar program. Simply put, community solar is a solar array for home owners and renters who might not have the right rooftops for individual solar installations but still want to reap the benefits of solar energy. The concept of community solar is becoming increasingly popular, and just last year, a New Mexico state policy was passed allowing the interconnection of community solar up to 200 MW of capacity. This is big news because it means that even more households can have access to affordable solar power.

The view held by these utilities, however, was one that allowed them to deduct transmission costs from solar bill credits received by customers, something the broader community of solar companies and dedicated solar experts vehemently disagreed with. The matter found itself taken all the way to the New Mexico Supreme Court, which, happily for us, ruled in favor of the community solar program, and by extension, solar consumers.

This victory was won thanks to the efforts of individuals like Jason Marks, an attorney who represented several renewable organizations and the city of Las Vegas. Marks cited the 45 community solar projects that these utilities had placed “in limbo” through their stance. The frustrating part was that these projects, the ones that the utilities were threatening, had all committed to allocating at least 50% of their capacity to low-income subscribers and offered significant discounts to those subscribers as well.

The Community Solar Act, the legislation behind all of this, is one of the most important pieces of solar legislation New Mexico has ever seen. Unlike traditional rooftop solar owners, this program provides community solar subscribers with stable credit for each kWh of solar energy they cause to be generated, and also sets a precedent whereby they are required to pay for all investor-owned utility-supplied generation.

We, as individuals passionate about solar energy need to celebrate such precedents. This ruling not only affirms the role of solar in achieving state clean energy goals but it removes some barriers hindering the adoption of solar, making it more accessible for everyone irrespective of income status or the suitability of their rooftops for hosting solar.

With this victory, our journey towards affordable solar energy for everyone moves an important step further. Let this be a reminder to all of us how important it is to be informed about the legislation and policies that can impact the solar energy landscape in our individual states.

And while the sun continues to shine, let’s also continue to do our part in keeping up the momentum in the sector to empower more communities with affordable, accessible clean energy.

Keep soaking up the sun!

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