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Unified Answer Brief at Supreme Court to defend Community Solar and low income subscribers


Yesterday New Energy Economy and the Coalition for Community Solar Access, the Renewable Energy Industries Association of New Mexico, the City of Las Cruces and the Coalition for Sustainable Communities jointly filed an Answer Brief at the New Mexico Supreme Court to defend against efforts by SPS, EPE and PNM to increase costs and barriers to Community Solar implementation. Our brief argues that:


1. Efforts by the utilities to deduct transmission costs from the bill credits owed to Community Solar subscribers is contrary to the Community Solar Act and would illegally result in double billing for Community Solar subscribers. The PRC directly prohibited inclusion of transmission costs in Community Solar rates because “community solar projects bring generation within the distribution level of the grid.” In the long run, the local generation provided by community solar facilities may in fact allow utilities to avoid having to construct additional transmission lines to bring energy to customers from distant generation plants.


2. The utilities argument that the rules as promulgated will result in subsidization by non-subscribers is false. The Community Solar rules ensure that interconnection costs are borne by Community Solar subscribers, not ratepayers, and that any cost sharing approved will be decided on a case-by-case basis to allow for instances in which interconnection requires upgrades to the grid that benefit all ratepayers, not only Community Solar subscribers.

The continued obstruction by SPS, EPE and PNM is intended for one purpose and one purpose only: to further delay Community Solar because it represents a threat to the monopoly control over energy production that these private Investor Owned Utilities are clinging to with a vise-like grip. Despite these efforts Community Solar is marching forward, with more than 400 bids for projects statewide announced in February, totaling more than 1,700 megawatts of potential community solar power, and an expected announcement of RFP winners expected on May 16th.


Community Solar represents a crack in the anti-competitive and anti-consumer monopoly control over our energy by PNM, SPS, and EPE, and they are afraid of the competition. All independent solar and wind businesses need to thrive is opportunity, and New Mexico’s sun and wind can do the rest to provide abundant energy at low cost guaranteed! Who wouldn’t want that? The investor-owned utilities don't, because it means less profit for their Wall St. shareholders.


It’s time to bring local control and 100% renewable energy at lower cost.

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