New Mexico Supreme Court Rules in Favor of the Community Solar Act Victory for Low and Moderate Income Households


New Mexico Supreme Court Rules in Favor of the Community Solar Act (

In 2021, the Community Solar Act authorized community solar in the state by allowing homeowners, renters and businesses to subscribe to electricity from community solar facilities, interconnected to New Mexico’s three major utility companies, including SPS. New Mexicans can save between 10 to 30% on their utility bills for being part of the program, with low-income subscribers slated to save the most.

More people may have the ability to gain access to solar power in New Mexico after a lawsuit filed against the state by a group of utility providers was thrown out this this week by the state Supreme Court.

The New Mexico Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case brought by Southwestern Public Service Company against the State Public Regulation Commission (PRC) in June 2022, challenging proposed community solar regulations that were approved by the PRC in July 2022.

The bill endorces community solar installations which allow low-income or renting residents to tap into “solar gardens” that are bigger than single-home rooftop solar but smaller than large-scale utility solar farms. The concept allows more people to access solar power and the subsequent reductions in electricity bills. They allow customers unable to install panels on their homes to buy solar power from non-utility-owned arrays.

The court’s order upheld the community solar rules, and said a second order would be issued at a later date to explain the decision.

The ruling was in favo of the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) and a coalition of intervenor-appellees that included the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), the Coalition of Sustainable Communities New Mexico (CSCNM), City of Las Cruces, New Energy Economy and the Renewable Energy Industries Association of New Mexico. The Supreme Court’s decision means the state’s community solar program will continue to be rolled out under the PRC’s existing rules.

In a statement concerning the rulling Kevin Cray, Mountain West Senior Director for CCSA said, “This decision from the New Mexico Supreme Court is monumental as we work to democratize solar energy in New Mexico. “This program will create a more equitable and resilient grid, enable new communities to embrace clean energy, and save money for hard-working families. We look forward to working closely with our partners in the state to continue rolling out the first phase of this program and further expand it in the future so more people can access its benefits.”

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