You may have heard buzz about the community solar initiatives happening in town the past few months– it’s been a hot topic at the Sustainable Santa Fe Commission and has inspired a wordpress site dedicated to educating local Santa Feans about the idea. Back in January, City Council approved a resolution to support the measure.
The basic concept is this: a utility builds a large-scale solar installation in an area of service and sells shares of the installation (either by percent or panel) to individual residents and businesses in the community. Those who buy into the project own their shares permanently, receiving the renewable energy credits generated by those shares indefinitely. Owners can sell their shares to other community members at any point.
What does this mean? For residential and commercial renters, it means access to clean energy regardless of location (a major benefit for the historic district!). For building owners, it means a more convenient, cheaper avenue to clean energy than rooftop solar.
This Tuesday, May 14, the Santa Fe County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to join the City of Santa Fe in adopting a resolution supporting the concept of community solar and directing staff to work with PNM and the PRC on a plan to install a solar farm in the Santa Fe area. This is big news for our county! Now, we’ll need a big push from the community to get PNM on board.