Luján Introduces Legislation to Expand Access to Solar Power for Households and Businesses
Hobbs, N.M. – U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) announced the introduction of legislation that requires states to consider policies to promote the deployment of community solar projects, providing greater and more equitable access to the benefits ofsolar energy. Senator Luján previously led the introduction of this legislation during the 116th Congress, which was included in the House-passed Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act. This legislation is co-sponsored by Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn).
Currently, 50 percent of American households and businesses cannot afford the cost of rooftop solar installation or live in buildings that cannot host solar panels. Directing new resources to expand solar power through community solar projects is a tangible way to combat the climate crisis that also creates a pathway to high-paying green economy jobs.
“With a worsening climate crisis, it’s clear that Congress must act on climate. Thankfully, the technology exists to do just that, but most households and businesses lack access to costly technologies such as solar power,” said Senator Luján. “I’m proud to introduce the Establishment of Community Solar Programs Act to invest in our communities and expand access to solar power through community solar projects. This legislation will help combat the climate crisis and create a pathway to good-paying clean energy jobs that will boost our economy.”
“New Mexico is now one of 21 states that have worked that have worked hard, often in the face of utility opposition, to pass statewide legislation enabling community solar programs. The Community Solar Programs Act would provide federal legislation requiring state regulatory commissions to consider community solar rules, potentially bypassing the need for state legislation. This bill could result in increased adoption of community solar, resulting in more access and community choice to solar energy,” said Beth Beloff, Executive Director, Coalition of Sustainable Communities NM.
“Rocky Mountain Farmers Union has supported renewable energy projects for decades. We have supported Community Solar proposals in Colorado and New Mexico. Senator Ben Ray Luján’s Community Solar bill will create investment opportunities for electric utility consumers in every state. Community Solar systems are important for consumers that don’t have space or have homeowner agreements that may not allow for solar panels. Thank you, Senator Luján for your work on this important piece of legislation,” said Bill Midcap, Senior Policy Advisor, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union.
“Kit Carson is excited about the proposed federal Community Solar Act which will compliment New Mexico’s Community Solar Act, legislation which enables, empowers, and gives access to all New Mexicans to affordable and reliable solar energy for all New Mexicans, especially our moderate and low income New Mexicans,” said Luis Reyes, CEO Kit Carson Electric Cooperative.
Additional quotes from key supporters from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Coalition for Community Solar Access, and Federal Liaison for Vote Solar can be found HERE.
Full text of the legislation can be found HERE.