PRC Files Notice of Inquiry

The New Mexico PRC has filed a Notice of Inquiry, stating that they will be looking into whether public utilities constructing and owning distributed generation facilities that are dedicated to serving one or more specific retail customers might provide net benefits or detriments to consumers, the environment, public utilities and the public interest. They are trying to determine if the Commission should encourage or discourage such arrangements.

For the complete pdf of their filing, please click below.

15-00355-UT Notice of Inquiry 11-18-15

Arizona to Begin Solar Cost-Benefit Study

arizona solar study

Arizona is set to begin a full cost-benefit study on roof top solar. Arizona utilities have maintained, for the past two years, that roof top solar adds costs to the grid that customers who don’t have solar have to pay. According to a recent article posted in Utility Dive, the utility concluded that customers with distributed solar, on average, shift $67 a month in costs to non-solar customers because they “pay less for grid upkeep”.
However, solar advocates point out that the utility is not calculating the value of solar correctly. They assert that solar adds around 33 cents per kilowatt hour to rate payers. Arizona solar advocates also point to a 2013 Crossborder Energy study showing every $1.00 invested in Arizona rooftop solar produced a $1.54 benefit to ratepayers.

The regulatory commission voted 4 to 1 at the end of October to study the cost/ benefits of rooftop solar in order to determine solar’s worth.

2015 Solar Fiesta Schedule and Workshops

2015 Solar Fiesta Banner

2015 Solar Fiesta Schedule

With solar themed workshops ranging from the Homeowners Guide to Photovoltaics to DIY Tech and the Future of Renewable energy, there will be something for everyone, regardless of their experience with PV and solar technologies! Bring the family to the CNM Workforce Training Center, I-25 and Alameda, on September 26th. The Solar Fiesta starts at 10am and lasts until 5pm. Hope to see you there!

Click on the above image for the downloadable PDF of this year’s schedule and click here for the Workshop Descriptions PDF.

PNM Drops Solar Connection Fee

Unlike PNM’s previous rate request, which was rejected by the five-member PRC commission in May, the new case does not call for a new fee for solar customers to connect to the grid. The solar fee would have ranged from $21 to $26.

“We did not feel that it would be productive to include it in the refiled rate case given the need to implement the new rates in a timely manner,” a PNM spokeswoman said.

For the full application, please click this file-  04_Application (OCR)

From the Directors- First Post

2011 has been a very active year for REIA. The REIA Board has met monthly since January. During the 2011 legislative session REIA drafted permitting legislation to address statewide permitting standards. REIA also successfully opposed PNM led efforts to shift burdens to consumers in the form of fixed cost recovery fees.

PRC hearings continue to demand REIA’s time and resources. In the face of changing utility tactics, we have had to step up with resources, time, and energy. REIA continues to pressure PNM to live up to it’s legal obligation under the Renewable Portfolio Standard. Initially, a single REIA board member was assigned to keep track of the PRC, then two, now a REIA subcommittee is tasked with staying on top of PRC filings. The investor-owned utilities and their legal teams are well funded. REIA’s position, in contrast, is drafted by volunteers and our paperwork was paid for by a second round of fundraising for special projects.

Thank you to everyone who contributed — without your dues REIA would not have a place a the bargaining table. REIA benefits from strategic alliances with New Mexico Independent Power Producers, Interstate Renewable Energy Council, and The Green Chamber, which allow us to leverage common interests and further pool resources.

While the economy is still weak, renewable energy in New Mexico continues to be one of the few bright spots, still a growth leader for jobs. The REIA committee on Statewide-Standards for Permitting has added solar thermal to their 4-page permit system for photovoltaic and will now start a statewide campaign to have the new system adopted. Discussions continue with the NM Construction Industry Division. Explorations with the city of Albuquerque for DOE-funded permit review did not pan out, but we continue to work with the city to clear the path for businesses.

REIA’s strongest partnership with the Martinez administration is the drive to simplify the business-killing bureaucracy that is currently slowing so many of our installers as they try and pull permits. This administration has been uniquely insular, but REIA continues efforts to direct the Governors’ attention to this important issue. We are the largest job creating engine in the state currently and deserve strong government attention in efforts to streamline and support our vital energy industry.

Looking ahead we expect to see efforts in the 2012 short session to roll back progress with the PRC, which we will oppose vigorously. 2011 has been REIA’s strongest year in terms of member fundraising, and we should be in a strong position heading into 2012.

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