Changes to the way New Mexico incentivises different renewable technologies have effectively halved the support for utility-scale solar power.
The state’s Public Utilities Commission voted 3-2 to assign two Renewable Energy Credits for each kilowatt of power generated from solar. This means half as much electricity from solar will now be required for the state to meet its obligations under the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).
Geothermal credits have been trebled in value. Wind has remained on one certificate per kilowatt hour making it the main beneficiary of the new rules.
The changes do not affect New Mexico’s overall renewable energy target that requires 15% of the electricity utilities sell to be from clean energy sources by 2015 and 20% by 2020.
This target is broken down by technology with not les than 30% to come from wind, 20% from solar, 5% from other centralised renewable sources and not less than 1.5% from distributed energy.
The changes will allow solar’s allocation to be met twice as quickly.
Commissioner Patrick Lyons conceded at the hearing that it could diminish the need for solar installations “a little”.
While not a huge solar power generator in absolute terms, New Mexico is a top five state for solar power per head of population, according to data from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).