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New Mexico weighs rules for community solar program

New Mexico utility regulators have nearly a year to create a new set of rules for governing community solar projects in the state, but utilities say they’re already being flooded with applications and requests for interconnection from prospective developers. (Associated Press file)

ALBUQUERQUE – New Mexico utility regulators have nearly a year to create a new set of rules for governing community solar projects in the state, but utilities say they’re already being flooded with applications and requests for interconnection from prospective developers.

Under legislation approved earlier this year, the Public Regulation Commission has until April 2022 to finalize the rules. Given the interest, the commission during a meeting Tuesday approved an order making clear that existing rules regarding interconnections will remain in place until new rules are adopted and that an application’s place in the queue doesn’t guarantee any priority since the community solar rules have yet to be established.

The legislation charges the commission with creating a framework for community solar programs, said Russell Fisk, a member of the commission staff who is part of the effort. That includes a cap on how large the programs can be within each utility and other requirements for utilities, developers and subscribers.

“It's such a comprehensive set of rules that has to be created that any current application couldn't possibly anticipate exactly what will be in the rules,” he said.

The states largest utility – Public Service Co. of New Mexico – has received more than 170 pre-applications and interconnection requests related to community solar.