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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Solar Energy Bills Need Your Help NOW

From Ben Luce of the Clean Energy Network:


The Solar Tax Credit Bills are in their final stages. We need as many phone calls and emails as possible, ASAP, into the Senate Finance Committee. Please call and/or email the Committee
members, whose contact information is given below. These may be heard as early as Wednesday, February 8th.

Please call and or email the Senators below even if you do not live in their territories. Simply give your name, any renewable energy credentials you might have, and ask that they support the bills listed below. Tell them you think these are well thought out bills and beneficial for New Mexico.

The bill number is SB 269 (Solar Market Development Act), and is sponsored by Dede Feldman. Mention the phrase "solar tax credits" explicitly, so they don't have to look up the number to know what you're talking about. This bill would provide a 30% tax credit, up to $9000, for people who install solar systems on their homes or businesses. Its a great bill - very carefully thought out.

Also, please urge support for SB 469, which provides production tax credits for "mid-size" renewable energy projects (such as a wind or biomass project at a farm), and support for larger scale solar projects (projects larger than 1 megawatt). SB 469 is sponsored by Carlos Cisneros.

Talking Points:

There is great skepticism on this committee, in particular, about problems with solar tax credits in the 1980s. These problems were real, and the proposed legislation takes them into account very carefully. If you should find yourself discussing this issue with one of the legislators, the talking points on this are:

This bill (SB 269) will not re-create the problems of the 1980's because:

1) The state tax credits are modest (30%) compared to the 60%+ credits of the 1980s.

2) The new federal solar tax credits (which are capped at $2000) are subtracted, not added, to the state credits. The purpose of the state credits is to increase the cap to $9000, and extend them beyond 2007, but its NOT to add to them willy nilly and create an overheated market.

3) The bill requires that the state carefully certify system components and installations before issuing the credits. The process will not be onerous at all for people using good equipment and good installations, but it will completely prevent having tax credits for the complete garbage that some companies were hawking in the 1980's.

4) Today's technology is much better, and has a great track record both here (in small numbers), and in other states and other countries that already have strong incentives.

5) There are now a growing certification system for installers (the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, for example), which is helping greatly to promote high quality installations. Such certification is not required by the bill, but the state will be encouraging installers to obtain such training.

The Senators on the Senate Finance Committee and their contact info is:

Senator Joseph A. Fidel, Chair, Democrat
Grants, NM
Capitol Office Phone: 986-4362
Office Phone: 287-4432
Home Phone: 287-4864

Senator John Arthur Smith, Vice Chair, Democrat
Deming, NM
Capitol Office Phone: 986-4363
Office Phone: 546-4979
Home Phone: 546-8546
E-mail: john.smith@nmlegis.gov

Senator Joseph J. Carraro, Ranking Member, Republican
Albuquerque, NM 87114
Capitol Office Phone: 986-4387
Office Phone:
Home Phone: 898-9369
E-mail: joecarraro@aol.com

Senator Sue Wilson Beffort, Member Republican
Sandia Park, NM 87047
Capitol Office Phone: 986-4395
Office Phone:
Home Phone: 292-7116
E-mail: sue.beffort@nmlegis.gov

Senator Pete Campos, Member Democrat
Las Vegas, NM 87701
Capitol Office Phone: 986-4311
Office Phone: 454-5700
Home Phone: 425-0508
E-mail: petecampos@newmexico.com

Senator Timothy Z. Jennings, Member Democrat
Roswell, NM 88202-1797
Capitol Office Phone: 986-4863
Office Phone: 623-8331
Home Phone: 623-9378

Senator Carroll H. Leavell, Member Republican
Jal, NM 88252
Capitol Office Phone: 986-4278
Office Phone: 395-2535
Home Phone: 395-3154
E-mail: leavell4@leaco.net

Senator Leonard Lee Rawson, Member Republican
Las Cruces, NM 88004
Capitol Office Phone: 986-4703
Office Phone: 528-1801
Home Phone:
E-mail: lee.rawson@nmlegis.gov

Senator Nancy Rodriguez, Member Democrat
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Capitol Office Phone: 986-4264
Office Phone:
Home Phone: 983-8913

Senator Leonard Tsosie, Member Democrat
Crownpoint, NM 87313
Capitol Office Phone: 986-4859

       Ben Luce

February 7, 2006 at 02:55 PM in Local Politics | Permalink


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