Climate leaders, politicians, and the community in New Mexico are working together to determine ways to combat the state’s current climate crisis. The Climate Crisis Action Plan, a series of recommendations dealing with renewable and environmental policies, was created by Rep. Ben Ray Lujan as part of an aggressive attempt at curbing the impending crisis. Part of that plan calls upon community solar programs to help families and businesses partake in solar energy.
The use of community solar programs will allow low to middle-class residents to benefit from solar options without installing personal panels. These efforts will directly assist the Climate Crisis Action Plan’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. As it stands, the plan calls for a drive to benefit working families while creating a green, efficient planet. This would reduce the effects of climate change and create jobs in the green energy industry.
Community solar will not only benefit the environment, it also has a positive impact on the residents that partake. Common community solar initiatives include a monthly credit returned to subscribers, which is placed toward individual utility bills. As Interfaith Power and Light representative Isais-Gastelum explains, the residents finance the installations and receive their money back in monthly credits.
Along with community solar, the climate plan lays out a proposal to make solar panels readily available to low-income residents and tenants. While solar panels are costly and take time to construct on individual homes, community solar is a joint effort that, when completed, immediately provides benefits to all parties involved.
Another primary concern of the climate plan is the reduction of greenhouse gases. As Western Leaders Network in Albuquerque representative Derrick Toledo explains, methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide, is leaked during the operation of oil and gas facilities. The object would be to reduce methane emission by reducing the reliance on gas and oil facilities.
While there is still a way to go before the plan’s main goal is achieved, Serafina Lombardi, a representative of New Mexico Acequia Association, has applauded the efforts proposed by the House, specifically its push for federal funding for conservation efforts.