PNM, New Mexico’s largest electric and gas utility, is seeking approval of a plan to expand on-site solar photovoltaic (PV) in its service territory. The two-pronged incentive program would pay project owners for "green" attributes and for excess electric generation.
As currently proposed, the program would be available to customers with existing or new interconnected PV systems rated 10 kilowatts or less. The program would help customers recoup some of the cost of installing a PV system in the following ways:
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs): Every kilowatt hour (kWh) generated by a PV system that is interconnected to PNM’s distribution grid has an environmental attribute that has value. This value will be accounted for through Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). PNM will purchase one REC for every kWh generated. A separate meter will be installed to measure the total amount of solar electricity the customer’s PV system produces. For each REC produced, PNM will pay the customer 11 cents. The program would run for 12 years and customers may enroll in the program at any time.
Net metering: Program participants will also participate in PNM’s net metering program. With net metering the customer’s meter dial turns both ways. That is, the meter turns forward when the customer is using electricity from the PNM grid, and backwards when the PV system is generating more electricity than the customer’s home is using and it flows onto the PNM grid. Each month PNM will determine how much net electricity the customer delivered to PNM, and credit the customer’s account for each excess kWh at a rate of just over 8 cents/kWh.
The New Mexico Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy has been actively working in support of this proposal for nearly two years and is urging PNM ratepayers to contact the NM Public Regulatory Commission to encourage their support for the proposal.