Community Solar Projects In New Mexico Proceeding
The push to bring Community Solar projects to rural New Mexico appears to be a success, and some lawmakers are already talking about expanding the effort.
The Legislative Science, Technology and Telecommunications Committee heard a presentation last weekupdating the current efforts.
Mountain West Senior Director for Coalition for Community Solar Access Kevin Cray says there were over 400 initial bids presented to the New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission. 45 of the projects were awarded. That number was set by the state.
Senator William Soules says that indicates there is a pent up demand for community solar and the cap is an anchor on what could be an economic driver for the state.
Cray says he agrees.
“I think there is pent up demand and I think these projects are essentially in limbo until we have additional program capacity that would allow them to move forward,” he said. “I think they will stand ready to continue to move forward as things move along but the quicker that we can bring on that additional program capacity, the quicker we can allow these programs to be unshackled and to continue to drive economic development.”
According to a study by the University of New Mexico, community solar could support 37-hundred jobs, and generate $517 Million in economic impact for New Mexico.
Community Solar projects are developed at a site near a community. They produce electricity of one to five megawatts to power from 200-1,000 homes and take up 5-25 acres of land.
Subscribers like small businesses, households, churches and schools sign up for a portion of the energy produced.