New Mexico senator creates sweeping solar toolkit for state

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According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, New Mexico currently produced only 3.8% of its electricity from solar sources. But one of its U.S. Senators, Martin Heinrich, is trying to change that.

Late last week, Heinrich unveiled his Solar Toolkit, which isn’t so much one toolkit as it is five toolkits designed to provide a roadmap for New Mexican commercial and industrial (C&I) entities to go solar.

The six specific markets targeted are:

  • schools;
  • local governments;
  • power producers;
  • rural businesses; and
  • Native American tribes.

In unveiling the tookits on his official Senatorial website, Heinrich said he hoped the toolkits provides a launching point for local governments, tribes, schools, power providers, rural businesses, policymakers and educational institutions to consider whether solar can meet their needs.

“There is no doubt that solar works for New Mexico,” Heinrich said. “The installed price of solar is lower than it ever has been, and more and more communities throughout New Mexico are building solar into their portfolios.”

Heinrich’s toolkits come at a time when the solar industry in New Mexico is gaining momentum. In the past seven months alone, the state has:

  • started requiring utilities to include solar+storage in their integrated resource plans moving forward (with overwhelming support from both solar advocates and utilities);
  • asked for proposals for to build 465 MW of new projects, including renewables and battery storage, designed to help reach its coal-free goal by 2031; and
  • released a new form for solar firms to ensure more transparency in residential solar contracts.

It also comes one year after two conflicting bills – one that would have put onerous regulations on solar installers and the other would have boosted renewable portfolio standards considerably – were introduced into the state’s legislature.

Now with a U.S. Senator involved in promoting the industry’s growth, it’s increasingly obvious that New Mexico’s solar industry has come quite far in a  year.