A community solar bill that has been in the works for more than five years is finally making its way to the governor’s desk. According to the announcement, New Mexico legislatures recently came together for a vote on the legislation. The vote was primarily carried by Democratics, which saw only one vote not supporting the measure. No Republicans backed the bill, with 23 opposing it and the rest either being absent for the vote or did not voting at all.
Senate Bill 84 was proposed as a means of delivering solar energy to homeowners throughout New Mexico. The community solar bill won’t directly create facilities, but it open up opportunities for developers to step in and create options for small business owners, homeowners, and tenants.
According to a University of New Mexico study, bringing community solar to the state could generate approximately $155 million across three years or $517 million across a five-year period. Additionally, the development of community solar could lead to the creation of upwards of 4,000 jobs and tax revenue equalling more than $2.9 million. Additionally, the facilities will make solar energy accessible to low- to middle-income homeowners throughout New Mexico.
Since its inception approximately five years ago, the community solar bill has been met with opposition. Their worry is that 2019’s Energy Transition Act has already made community solar outdated. They feel the additional costs of community solar will wind up becoming the responsibility of the ratepayers. However, the act has language that preemptively ensures any future costs do not fall into the hands of non-subscribers.
On the other end of the table, proponents of the community solar bill had a hand in the current version of the bill. Should it pass through the governor’s desk and receive approval, community solar programs will be able to provide homeowners and small businesses across New Mexico with low-cost energy without having to build private solar panels. As part of community solar programs, subscribers receive a credit toward their monthly utility bill.
There is currently no timeline for the governor to approve or dismiss the community solar bill.