EP Electric Files for Community Solar Program in NM, Low-Income Option
On Tuesday, April 24, 2018, El Paso Electric (EPE) filed for approval for a new Community Solar Program in New Mexico with the New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission (NMPRC). Under the proposed program, EPE’s New Mexico customers will have the opportunity to subscribe, on a voluntary basis, to solar generation from a new 2 megawatt (MW) solar facility to be constructed, owned and operated by EPE located near the intersection of highway I-10 and I-25, in Doña Ana County.
As part of the filing, EPE is reserving solar capacity for a low-income customer option. A low-income customer charge to be made available to qualifying customers will offer a 10 percent discount on the Community Solar capacity charge. To qualify, EPE has proposed to determine a customer’s eligibility based on Federal Poverty, Guidelines, which is the same criteria used for EPE’s low-income energy efficiency program. A total of 200 kW have been set aside for this rate.
“We’ve been very happy with the success of the Community Solar Program in Texas, and we look forward to bringing this program to our New Mexico customers,” said Mary Kipp, President and CEO of El Paso Electric. “Community Solar is a way to give our customers another option for investment in renewable energy, and by proposing a low income solution, access to renewable energy is now truly available to all residents and businesses in New Mexico.”
The program is available to all New Mexico customers - homeowners, renters and business owners without distributed generation; and the subscription is portable anywhere within EPE’s New Mexico service territory. Customers are able to subscribe to solar generation in 1 kW blocks and will pay a fixed rate of $18.55 per kW for this capacity, with solar and fuel credits offsetting the price. Low income customers would pay $16.52 per kW for the capacity, reflecting the proposed 10 percent discount. There is no penalty for leaving the program, and the rate is fixed as long as customers remain in the program.
About El Paso Electric’s Texas Community Solar Program
The Texas Community Solar 3 MW facility, located in Far East El Paso, TX, began operating in June of last year. The pilot program was fully subscribed in just one month since the opening of subscriptions in mid-March of 2017, with about 1,500 customers enrolled, and several hundred Texas customers on the waiting list. In March of this year, EPE filed to expand the Texas Community Solar Program from a 2 MW facility, and the petition is currently undergoing the approval process with EPE’s Texas regulators. For more information on EPE’s community solar program, click here.
About El Paso Electric
El Paso Electric is a regional electric utility providing generation, transmission and distribution service to approximately 418,900 retail and wholesale customers in a 10,000 square mile area of the Rio Grande valley in west Texas and southern New Mexico.