Community Solar Act enables renters, low-income households, multi-unit tenants to save money with community solar, spurs clean energy jobs
Legislation was introduced in New Mexico recently to expand bill-saving benefits of solar to all residents, including those who rent, have unsuitable roofs, or lack financial flexibility, by allowing community solar development in the state. In the same way families and businesses can lower electric utility bills with solar on their own rooftops, the Community Solar Act (HB210), sponsored by Representative Patricia Roybal Caballero and Senator Elizabeth Stefanics, enables residents to “subscribe” to a local community solar project to save money.
“Community Solar gives our communities the opportunity to access an affordable, natural and abundant renewable energy option to help transition our collective efforts towards living in a healthier and cleaner climate,” said Representative Roybal Caballero.
While solar is already providing significant economic and environmental benefits for nearly two million households nationwide, the majority of Americans face physical or financial barriers to the traditional rooftop solar. With HB210, New Mexico residents can choose to participate as one of multiple subscribers to a local community solar installation, saving money on their own bill while participating in the state’s growing clean energy economy. Today, 19 states and the District of Columbia allow community solar programs, creating thousands of jobs and spurring local economic investments in those states.
“It’s time for all New Mexicans to have access to the benefits of our solar,” said Art Terrazas, Interior West Director at Vote Solar. “Community solar means that all New Mexico families and tribes, regardless of income or any other factors, can save money from our state’s plentiful sunshine. We’re thrilled that Representative Caballero is championing the opportunity for solar to benefit all, and we look forward to getting it across the finish line.”
“Lower electric bills, cleaner energy, more green jobs, and a healthier environment, that is the promise of solar energy. And now, thanks to the Community Solar Act, legislation introduced by Reps. Patricia Roybal Caballero and Elizabeth Stefanics, New Mexicans are one step closer to accessing these benefits by way of a new community solar program,” said Luis Torres, Senior Legislative Representative for Earthjustice. “With community solar, families of all income levels are able to harness the power of the sun from a shared community solar array in their neighborhood. Families living in apartments or homes with limited or no rooftop access, as well as those who can’t afford to cover the upfront costs of solar, will have a chance to subscribe to a shared array and access the benefits of solar. We are hopeful that this legislation will become law and will put New Mexico at the forefront of community solar in the nation.”
"GRID Alternatives commends the state of New Mexico for setting a new bar for equitable community solar policy, which provides specific language directly including Indian Nations, Tribes and Pueblos as well as a strong program carveout for low-income New Mexicans who can most benefit from solar access,” said Tom Figel, Director of Community Solar.
"GRID Alternatives' Tribal Program has been active in New Mexico since 2015 and looks forward to opportunities to expand our partnerships through community solar," said Tim Willink, Director of Tribal Programs.