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Solar Easements & Rights Laws

Eligibility 
Commercial
Industrial
Local Government
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State Government
Federal Government
Savings Category 
Solar - Passive
Solar Water Heat
Solar Space Heat
Solar Thermal Electric
Solar Thermal Process Heat
Solar Photovoltaics
Solar Pool Heating
Program Info
Sector Name 
State
State 
New Mexico
Program Type 
Solar/Wind Access Policy
Summary 
New Mexico's Solar Rights Act (1977) and Solar Recordation Act (1983) allow property owners to create solar easements for the purpose of protecting and maintaining proper access to sunlight. The Solar Rights Act established the right to use solar energy as a property right. The solar right prevents neighboring property owners from constructing new buildings or planting new trees which would block their access to the sun.

The Solar Recordation Act describes the procedures for filing a solar right through the County Clerk's Office. The property owner seeking the solar right must give advanced notice to the adjacent property owners, who are entitled to contest the claim. Once awarded, the solar right is attached to the property and will remain in effect even if the property is sold. The solar right, however, can be bought and sold separately from the property. This allows a neighboring property owner to purchase the solar right and then cancel it. The Solar Rights Act and the Solar Recordation Act also include provisions allowing local governments to create their own ordinances or zoning rules pertaining to the protection of solar rights.

In May 2007, S.B. 1031 strengthened solar access rights in New Mexico by limiting the ability of a county or municipality to restrict the placement of solar collectors unless the location is within a historic district. S.B. 1031 also voided all covenants and restrictions (from July 1, 1978 forward) that effectively prohibit the installation of solar collectors.

More information is available in this brochure and at the website listed above.