The Battle for the Sun Heats Up in New Mexico

The battle with Utilities for Home Solar Energy
The right to power your home with rooftop solar pv

The Battle for the Sun ( Solar Thermal Magazine)

In New Mexico, as well as many other states in the US, the war between the power utilities and residents that want to exercise their right to power their homes with rooftop solar and to sell the extra electricity that they make to other consumers. As solar technology becomes more efficient and more cost effective there will be more confrontation with advocates for grid based fossil fuel generated power.

The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) is filing a motion to dismiss the interconnection fee on solar customers in the PNM rate case. TASC, which represents the interests of rooftop solar customers and industry, believes PNM has failed to provide sufficient evidence required by law to support the unfair charges on solar customers.

PNM’s initial proposal included several requests that would severely threaten the growth of solar in New Mexico. The utility proposed that the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) approve a punitive monthly fee for residential solar customers who have installed a solar system on their homes. PNM has failed to provide data to substantiate the “solar tax” as required by the New Mexico legislature. TASC also opposes PNM’s additional solar program changes, such as the elimination of solar customer’s right to carry-over produced solar electricity on a monthly basis.

Jon Wellinghoff, outside counsel to The Alliance for Solar Choice made this comment on the case:

The rate changes proposed by PNM are a threat to the growing solar industry in New Mexico. Nationally, the solar industry produced one out of every 78 new jobs in 2014, which is 20 times the national average growth rate. PNM’s proposal, if approved, would harm an industry that is bringing stable local jobs and consumer choice to New Mexicans.

The Alliance for Solar Choice filed the motion to dismiss the interconnection charge with support from the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, New Energy Economy, Sierra Club and the Renewable Energy Industries Association of New Mexico.

PNM Resources (NYSE: PNM) is an energy holding company based in the U.S. state of New Mexico. The acronym PNM by itself usually refers to the PNM Resources subsidiary Public Service Company of New Mexico.

About Gordon Smith
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.