ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new center is promising to make renewable energy resources more accessible to low-income families. Friday, the governor announced the establishment of a nonprofit, created to finance solar projects and more for New Mexicans. “New Mexico is the cheapest place in America for solar, great unless you’re one of those consumers who doesn’t have access to that,” says Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
New Mexico is hoping to expand that access and fund other renewable energy projects with the newly formed “New Mexico Climate Investment Center.” Governor Lujan Grisham said it will make renewables cheaper, especially for low-income families. “Making sure that we’re environmentally smart, that we’re dealing with climate change credibly for all generations, and that we’re leveraging every single resource so that it makes its way to the families who deserve it and need it the most,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham.
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The Investment Center has been in development for more than a year and is approved as a non-profit public corporation. This means it will be able to work as the “go-between” from state government and local entities, to distribute federal dollars designated for climate projects.
Speakers said this center was a bipartisan effort. “With all of us working together, we can now get money from the federal government that I was pretty sure we were not going to be able to get before,” said Sen. Mimi Stewart (D), President Pro Tempore.
Senator Mimi Stewart said more than 150,000 New Mexico households spend more than 15% of their income on energy compared to the national average of 2%. Through the center, they hope to put federal money towards helping households improve energy efficiency, with rooftop solar ownership, and solar lease programs for lower-income households. “At some point someone has to dig a hole, buy the stuff, get it there and make it happen for the people who live in those communities,” says Governor Lujan Grisham.
To start, the center has access to 60 million dollars in federal funds, half of that earmarked for lower-income communities. The state also said they’re hoping to get 20 million dollars during the next legislative session to support the center’s projects.