How Can You Stop The Sun From Shining?

NREL Solar Photovoltaic Resource Map

For a state with so much solar potential, New Mexico has realized very little actual solar power. PNM (the major electrical utility in NM) currently has about 1.4 megawatts of solar PV capacity, almost all of which is owned by individual customers. PNM owns two solar facilities, a 25kW solar PV system located in Algodones and a 5kW system in Aztec. With so little solar photovoltaic power in place, PNM's most recent proposal to limit privately-owned, grid-tied solar PV systems has the Renewable Energy Industry Association of New Mexico (REIA-NM) concerned.

Currently, PNM has a Small PV Program, for photovoltaic systems under 10 kW (KiloWatt), which offers PV system owners both net metering and REC (Renewable Energy Credit) electricity buy back at 13 cents per kilowatt-Hour. This program in conjunction with federal solar incentives has encouranged over 400 homeowners to buy and install their own Solar PV sytems. According to PNM they are 'seeking permission from the N.M. Public Regulation Commission to launch a program in which PNM would own this solar capacity, but it would be sited on property owned by participating customers. PNM would pay participating customers lease payments in return for hosting a PNM-owned solar PV system.'

Why the sudden change from support of customer-owned solar PV systems to utility-owned panels located on residential and commercial rooftops? Color me skeptical, but I don't see how change this will encourage people to install solar PV systems. I don't have solar PV panels on my roof yet, but prices are coming down and I'd like the option to produce some of my own electricity in the future.

Patrick Griebel of REIA-NM states that 'PNM has proposed eliminating its support of customer-owned solar energy, choosing instead to develop utility-owned solar to meet its renewable energy mandate. PNM claims cost is the issue, but a competitive market for solar can surely achieve better cost efficiencies than a monopolistic utility-ownership model. REIA will show in this case that PNM is playing fast and loose with the numbers.'

In their July 1, 2009 'Renewable Energy Procurement Plan for 2010' filing with the NM Public Regulation Commission, PNM requests new limits to their Large and Small PV Programs. The Small PV Program would be limited to 920 KW of new solar PV systems in 2010 and 1,108 KW new capacity in 2011, to a maximum of 3.8 MegaWatts (MW) . PNM also proposes limiting their Large PV Program to reduce system sizes of 250 kW capacity (reduced from 1 MW), 4.2 MegaWatts total and closing the program to new participants by December 31, 2010.

Despite the title of their press release, PNM wants to put hard limits on new customer-owned, photovoltaic systems. Now is a good time for New Mexicans to contact their PRC Commissioners if they want to preserve their ability to own a grid-tied solar PV system. PNM can't stop the sun from shining and they shouldn't be stopping new PV systems either.

More Info:

S.Fe New Mexican - PNM wants to expand solar capacity

Press Release - PNM Seeks Major Expansion of Solar Photovoltaic Capacity

New Mexico Public Regulation Commission and Renewable Energy in New Mexico

Renewable Energy Industry Association of New Mexico

New Mexico Solar Energy Association

NRDC - Renewable Energy Potential Map

Solar Energy Development PEIS - Public Comment through September 14, 2009

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?


Response to "How Can You Stop The Sun From Shining?"

This is a response to the article "How Can You Stop The Sun From Shining?" The situation is far worse than anybody will acknowledge. Here is just one example from 2009.

This is the RFP that PNM issued last Friday (Aug 7, 2009)

This is the definition of a Variable Interest Entity

“A Variable Interest Entity (VIE) is a term used by the United States Financial Accounting Standards Board in FIN 46 to refer to an entity (the investee) in which the investor holds a controlling interest which is not based on the majority of voting rights.”

This is a quote from the RFP (bottom pg 10/39 and top pg 11/39)

“Evaluation of Proposals
Accounting Information
PNM will assess all Proposals for appropriate accounting or tax treatment. Respondents must supply all information PNM reasonably requires to make such assessments. For example, accounting and tax rules may require the seller of assets owned by the seller be consolidated as a Variable Interest Entity onto PNM’s balance sheet. In addition, each Respondent must agree to make available, upon PNM’s request and at any point in the Proposal evaluation process, any and
all financial data associated with Respondent and the Project or related matters to determine potential accounting impacts. Nonpublic information will be subject to the confidentiality provisions of this RFP.”

Any successful bidder will be relinquishing ownership of his company to PNM.

Obviously nobody would do that. If you did, you’d be committing suicide. However, it is also clear, that PNM would certainly be granted a better wholesale price for panels and inverters than you, so they have already decided to commit premeditated murder of all the renewable energy industry small businesses in New Mexico. How do you want it? Suicide or Murder? Contrary to Anti-trust laws, PNM is using rate payer money to kill small business and to expand their monopoly.

Erik Hawkes