With a high altitude and abundant sunshine, New Mexico’s geography and climate make it ideal for those looking to harvest solar energy. New Mexico ranks among the top 10 states for grid-connected solar energy per capita, and installation of solar PV systems continues to increase thanks to the state’s incentives and regulatory policies. Residential solar panels in New Mexico continue to grow as a viable power option.
New Mexico’s Solar
To determine a grade for each state, our researchers and solar experts analyzed data on crucial solar-advancement criteria from the following sources:
- Rebates, Tax Credits, and Tax Exemptions from Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency;
- Electricity Rates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration;
- Renewable Energy Policy from NC Clean Energy Technology Center;
- Interconnection Ease from Freeing The Grid;
- Photovoltaic Potential from the Energy Department
We determined a rank from 1 to 10 for each state in each category. We then combined the scores with the following weights and assigned an overall grade for each state. Our goal is to encourage those considering solar for their homes to get a basic understanding of solar potential in their areas and discover the best opportunities for clean energy available.
Incentives & Rebates, 40%
Electricity Rate, 15%
Renewable Energy Policy, 30%
Interconnection Ease, 5%
Photovoltaic Potential, 10%
Electricity Rates in New Mexico
The average cost of electricity in New Mexico is only slightly higher than the national average at $0.12/kWh. However, a climate and geography well suited for solar, energy policy reform and declining costs of solar power systems make solar energy an increasingly attractive investment in the Land of Enchantment. A total 88 MW of new solar power capacity was installed in New Mexico in 2014, an increase that helped create enough to power some 83,000 homes. That earned the state an 11th place ranking in Solar Energy Industry Association’s (SEIA) 2015 solar market report.
Cost of Residential Electricity
Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration
*as of Q3 2015
New Mexico Library
of Solar Resources
Solar Panel Policies in New Mexico
Despite debates surrounding the institution of energy market reforms that would stimulate growth in New Mexico’s residential solar industry, $172 million was invested in solar energy installations in the state in 2014, 32 percent more than in 2013. Supportive legislation, policies and resulting pro-solar programs form the foundation for further growth. About 72 federal and state programs are currently in effect in New Mexico.
New Mexico law allows owners of property in the state to borrow funds for energy improvements, which include installing solar PV energy technologies. The borrowed amount is usually paid back through a special property assessment over several years.
None for residential specifically
In New Mexico, businesses that generate revenue by selling or installing solar PV energy systems can deduct this revenue from their gross receipts prior to the calculation of the gross receipts tax, which is used in lieu of a sales tax in New Mexico.
All utilities that are subject to the jurisdiction of the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) have to provide net metering, including to those who produce energy with solar PV systems. Solar energy systems that are interconnected, or on-grid, can receive incentives in exchange for their renewable energy certificates.Solar Easements & Rights Laws:
According to New Mexico law, easements can be created by property owners to protect appropriate access to the sun’s light. This right keeps property owners’ neighbors from planting trees or building buildings that would prevent them from being able to access the sun.Net Metering:
Users of solar power systems can take advantage of net metering in New Mexico. Net excess generated energy will be credited to a customer’s next bill at the avoided-cost rate; alternatively, excess kWh produced is credited to the customer’s account and keeps rolling over indefinitely. The maximum capacity for a system is 80 MW.
Solar energy system contractors and installers must be licensed through the construction industries division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department. In addition, structural analyses have to be performed by structural engineers who are licensed in New Mexico.
None for commercial specifically
New Mexico allows both personal and corporate tax credits for any residential and commercial building with a solar PV energy system. The credit amount varies according to the building’s square footage along with its LEED certification level, up to $9 per square foot for residences and up to $6.25 for commercial buildings.Advanced Energy Tax Credit:
New Mexico taxpayers who own part or all of a solar PV electricity-generating facility may qualify for tax credits equal to 6 percent of the facility’s cost. The credit can be applied against either personal or corporate income taxes owed.Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit:
A tax credit is available against corporate or personal income tax for people or entities who use solar PV technology to produce energy. The energy generator has to have at least a 1 MW capacity and be installed prior to January 2018. The incentive yields an average of $0.027/kWh each year.
New Mexico offers a 10 percent tax credit on personal income for individuals and sole proprietors who buy and install solar PV energy systems that are certified. The tax credit caps at $9,000.
A tax credit is available to those who manufacture solar PV energy systems or their parts. The maximum incentive is 5 percent of the taxpayer’s qualified expenses.
None for residential/commercial specifically
Typically when any improvements are made on a house, property taxes on that house increase. This incentive exempts residential solar energy systems from property tax assessments in most cases, which means adding a solar energy system won’t result in higher taxes.
None for commercial specifically
N.M. Solar Companies, Contractors & Installers
More than 98 solar companies were doing business in New Mexico in 2014, and that number continues to grow. The following short list can help you start or refine your search for the right solar energy system company.
Affordable Solar is a community minded full-service solar sales/installation company that has installed more than 20,000 solar energy systems for over 2,000 residential, community, commercial, utility and scientific since its founding.
Where it operatesAlbuquerque
Year of opening1998
This full-service solar energy sales/installation company specializes in custom-building residential and commercial solutions according to customers’ budgets and energy needs.
Where it operatesAlbuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe
Year of opening2004
Sol Luna’s NABCEP-certified team provides a complete range of solar energy products and services, including education and financing, as well as project design, engineering, construction and life-cycle operations and maintenance.
Where it operatesDixon
Year of openingEstablished: Over 40 years in business
Positive Energy Solar is an employee-owned company that designs, engineers, installs, maintains and helps finance solar energy projects for residences, businesses, public and government facilities.
Where it operatesAlbuquerque, Los Alamos, Las Cruces and Santa Fe
Year of opening1997
Sunspot Solar offers a qualified, licensed, experienced team of local energy professionals that designs, engineers, installs, maintains and helps finance residential and commercial projects.
Where it operatesLas Cruces
Year of openingUnknown
Osceola Energy is a high-quality, full-service electrical contractor that provides affordable turnkey solar PV and wind power systems for residential, commercial and industrial customers.
Where it operatesAlbuquerque
Year of opening2009
PPC is an experienced, full-service provider of solar PV systems for homes, businesses and utilities. The company ranked in the Top 400 Solar Contractors by Solar Power World in 2014.
Where it operatesTaos
Year of opening1979
This licensed New Mexico electrical, mechanical and general contractor provides a full range of solar energy products and services, including project design, installation, operations, maintenance and financial assistance.
Where it operatesTaos
Year of openingEstablished: Over 30 years
New Mexico Solar Resources
There are many sources of information about solar energy in New Mexico. The list below can help you with your own research.
The ECMD is dedicated to promoting sustainable use of the state’s energy resources to help promote a healthy, vital economy and society. Their site provides a list of state solar tax incentives.
This state commission regulates utilities, telecoms and motor carrier industries with the mandate to assure safety, equal access, sustainability and affordability.
The website for the 70-member House of Representatives and 42-member Senate representing all New Mexicans provides public access to online database of proposed and existing legislation.
One of the nation’s first solar and sustainable energy organizations, the New Mexico Solar Energy Association provides education, advocacy and public outreach revolving around promoting growth of solar energy in New Mexico and nationwide.
National Solar Observatory is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the sun, provides observational opportunities to researchers worldwide and works with universities, industries and other government labs to improve solar instrumentation.
Western Regional Climate Center provides climate data and information at the national, regional and state levels in collaboration with NOAA partners in the National Climatic Data Center, National Weather Service, the American Association of State Climatologists and others.
This site compiles consumer reviews of solar companies, panels, inverters and equipment from across the U.S. and includes summaries of state solar power installation requirements.
Maintained by the North Carolina Clean Energy Center, DSIRE is the DOE’s online national database of federal and state solar policies and programs. It is an indispensable source of information regarding solar policies, programs and incentives nationwide.
This DOE Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) website is a valuable source of data and information regarding renewable and energy efficiency projects, activities, statistics, maps, news and policies throughout the U.S.
The latest news and developments to do with solar and renewable energy from the DOE’s flagship national center for clean energy R&D, particularly for those interested in the latest technological advances, can be found on this site.
The DOE’s official source of national energy statistics is an essential reference for anyone who takes an interest in energy in the U.S.
SEIA provides a comprehensive range of information and data regarding the latest developments affecting the U.S. solar industry and markets. Fact sheets highlight and summarize recent developments state by state.