- Public Service of New Mexico (PNM) has asked state regulators for a new $6 per kilowatt per month charge on residential solar owners beginning in 2016, PV magazine reports. Because the average rooftop system is between 3 and 5 kilowatts, the fee would add $18 to $30 to solar owners’ monthly bills.
- The request was part of an overall rate increase that would be effective January 1, 2016, and total $107.4 million, a 7.7% increase on the average customer bill.
- The overall rate increase requested of the state’s Public Regulation commission would cover PNM’s $2.4 billion rate base, up $585 million since the 2010 rate case. The charge on solar, according to PNM, would prevent the burden for system reliability and grid maintenance from being shifted to non-solar owners.
The $6 per kilowatt figure is similar to the solar charge approved by Arizona regulators last year. Public Service New Mexico says its necessary to charge rooftop solar customers extra to cover the cost of interconnecting their systems, which currently falls on non-solar households, PV Magazine reports.
Solar advocates say calculations like PNM’s fail to acknowledge that losses in revenue due to increased rooftop solar and energy efficiency also decrease system costs that, by some calculations, represent a net benefit to the utility.
The increase in rates, PNM says, comes from capital expenditures at the La Luz and Rio Bravo natural gas plants, four new solar projects, emissions control equipment for the San Juan coal facility, leasing the Palo Verde nuclear facility, and grid upgrades.