In northern New Mexico the sun shines nearly every day of the year. If solar energy is going to be viable anywhere, it will be here—and a small electric cooperative in historic Taos is taking advantage of it. In addition to supporting new solar projects in its service area, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative is offering its customers the opportunity to buy solar energy from “plots” in a “garden” of solar power generation.
The solar garden concept is one way that some progressive, consumer-owned and governed electric cooperatives are integrating renewable energy into their distribution utility offerings. They construct and operate a “garden” of solar power generation with arrays of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels which convert sunlight to electricity. Consumers can buy panels outright or subscribe to their output, and the “fruits” of their part of the garden are delivered to them over the cooperative’s distribution lines. (See related quiz: “What You Don’t Know About Solar Power.”)
Taos’ Kit Carson found that consumers were increasingly interested in solar power, and a few were already deploying solar PV at their homes and businesses, but only a few could deal with the many barriers. . . .