We are pleased to announce that after many months of outreach and engagement, we are launching our campaign to establish a Local Solar Access Fund in the 2024 legislative session.
Representative Reena Szczepanski and Senator Harold Pope are leading the charge to create the Local Solar Access Fund. This groundbreaking proposal will create an accessible grant fund for community-owned solar and storage projects at the New Mexico Finance Authority. The fund will issue grants to construct solar and storage projects that power public buildings and infrastructure owned by NMFA-qualified entities, including municipal governments, county governments, Tribal governments, school districts, conservation districts, rural water associations, and higher educational institutions. The fund will also issue planning grants for these types of projects, including hiring grant writers and federal funding experts to leverage time-sensitive federal funding, as well as hiring technical experts to plan solar and storage projects.
The fund will be structured to ensure equity, prioritizing funding to rural and under-resourced communities in New Mexico that otherwise would be unable to access funding for these projects. The Local Solar Access Fund will be established with a non-reverting non-recurring appropriation of $110 million. It will also be structured to receive federal and private funding
The Local Solar Access Fund is a product of months of engagement and outreach with local and Tribal governments and community-based organizations throughout our state. We learned that our rural communities frequently don’t have the resources to access federal funding or funding for solar and storage projects. The fund will be a game-changer that will help New Mexico leverage urgent, unprecedented federal funding opportunities and receive accessible state funding to build solar and storage projects that will benefit them for generations to come. New Mexico has already missed opportunities to access new federal funding opportunities for solar, and this is a key piece of the puzzle to help leverage as much investment as we can into our communities.
We envision that this fund will empower our communities to take the lead in catalyzing our solar future while protecting their resiliency and public health and safety, saving money for important community needs, and generating local investment in renewable energy technology and jobs.
We need your help to make the Local Solar Access Fund a reality. Please take one minute to send a letter to your legislators and the Governor in support of the fund.