Wednesday, February 18, 2009

First Major Victory!

Today in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee, we passed HB 219, my surface owner notice bill.

This is the bill that gives surface owners notice before the minerals beneath them are leased by an oil company, notice of who owns the minerals, and an opportunity to use a thirty day period to buy the minerals from the mineral owner.

From here, the bill moves to the House Judiciary Committee.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bill Brings New Solar Opportunities to New Mexico

Today I introduced House Bill 572, "The Solar Energy Improvement Special Assessment Act" (CLICK HERE). If passed, this bill will revolutionize the way solar systems are installed and financed in New Mexico by vastly expanding the number of homes that can afford an installation.

The bill will allow property owners statewide to opt into special assessment districts, which will then let the owners to finance solar system installations trough their property tax payments. By using this form of financing, property owners will obtain important benefits:
  • they will be able to avoid the need for up-front capital investment for a solar system installation,
  • they will be able to finance the systems over longer terms than are available through second mortgages or other financing, which is essential for the system installation to be cost-effective, and
  • they will be able to make their loan payments through their county's property tax system instead of making payments directly to a bank or other lending institution
This is also a good deal for the lender because:
  • the loan is secured by a lien on the borrower's property, which stays with the property until the loan is paid
  • the county assessor collects the loan payments and forwards the money directly to the lender with little effort from the lender
  • the loan is ultra-secure because it is guaranteed by the borrower's property
Finally, the bill is a great deal for the state because:
  • it will create many jobs installing and maintaining the solar systems
  • it will provide a new market for the solar panels that will be manufactured here in new Mexico by our new solar companies
  • it will reduce New Mexico's reliance on electricity generated by coal-fired power plants
Please keep an eye on this legislation as it moves through the legislature.