New Mexico Solar Rebates and Incentives
|Program Type||Property-based Financing|
|Technologies||Photovoltaics and Solar Thermal|
|Required Documentation||Determined by district|
|Official Web Site||http://programs.dsireusa.org/system/program/detail/3532|
While still in place, there is some controversy about this program resulting from a 2010 complaint from the Federal Housing Financing Agency about the senior lien status in most PACE programs. This program could be suspended.
In 2009, New Mexican lawmakers passed two bills that allowed counties in the state to create financing programs to support renewable development for home and building owners. These programs allow counties in New Mexico to create renewable energy financing districts and fund them by issuing bonds or securing other financing. Home and building owners opting in to the programs can fund their clean energy projects with little or no up-front money.
After the property owners purchase the system with the PACE money, an assessment equivalent to the amount financed is assessed on the property and added as a lien on the property, usually paid for as part of the local property tax. The assessment is paid back over a period of years. In the case of foreclosure, the lien is paid prior to other claims against the property. If the property is sold prior to full repayment of the lien, both the remaining lien and the renewable-energy installation are transferred to the new owner.
New Mexico also enacted legislation allowing counties to create a solar energy improvement special assessment provision. Counties are not authorized to directly finance solar installations on homes under this law. However, they can certify private banks and financial institutions as institutions that certify solar-energy improvements. The institutions may loan property owners up to 40 percent the property’s assessed value to finance solar-energy improvements. Property owners enter into a direct agreement with the project funder and send notification to the county. Loans through the program are assessed as liens against the property and repaid via a property-tax assessment.
The programs began in 2009, and not all counties yet offer PACE or financing for solar energy projects through private institutions. Thus far, Santa Fe County has started a PACE program, and Lincoln County may soon follow. The state now is encouraging other counties and municipalities to enact renewable financing with educational brochures and assistance from the state’s Energy Conservation and Management Division, which is working with the New Mexico Association of Counties.
|Program Type||Net Metering|
|Technologies||Photovoltaics and Solar Thermal|
|Amount||Up to 80 megawatts (MWs)|
Interconnection agreement sent to customer’s utility for systems up to 10 kW. For larger systems,
additional studies and paperwork are required.
|Official Web Site||http://www.nmprc.state.nm.us/|
New Mexico allows customer-generators producing up to 80 megawatts of electricity to sign up for net metering—the highest in the country.
Customer-generators, businesses and industrial operations may qualify to net-meter. Systems up to 10 kilowatts (more than enough for most homes and small businesses) may sign up using only the interconnection agreement. When customer-generators net meter, they sell any renewable energy credits (RECs) to their utility.
Utilities set the rate at which they reimburse customer-generators for the electricity and generation credits. For net excess generation, net-metered customers must be credited at the utility’s avoided-cost rate for power produced. In addition, the credit either is carried forward to the next month’s bill, or if net excess generation exceeds $50 during a monthly period, the utility will pay the customer-generator for the power produced. Net metering customer-generators producing less than 10.1 kW of power do not need additional equipment other than an inverter capable of being tied to the grid to enter into net-metering arrangements with their utility. The rates paid to customer-generators are set by their utilities.
The three main utilities in the state, PNM, Xcel Energy and El Paso Electric, all offer performance-based incentives in addition to the net-metering payments. The performance-based incentives are purchased by the utilities in the form of RECs. The utilities use the credits to count toward their renewable energy portfolio.
Related Links: New Mexico Solar Installers
|Program Type||Tax Credit|
|Technologies||Photovoltaics, Solar Hot Water, Solar Space Heating, and Cooling and Solar Thermal|
|Amount||Limited to $9,000 or 10 percent of system installation and cost|
|Required Documentation||Solar System Certification Application Form and Solar System Installation Form|
|Official Web Site||http://programs.dsireusa.org/system/program/detail/1295|
New Mexico’s Solar Tax Credit is funded at $5 million a year and is available to home owners and non-corporate business owners. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $9,000 or 10 percent of system costs. And they may apply for multiple incentives. For instance, someone installing a PV system and a solar thermal system could qualify for up to $18,000 in tax credits in a year. Applicants are also eligible for the 30 percent federal tax credit on a qualified system.
The program is funded through Dec. 31, 2016.
New Mexico isn’t just home for aliens and secret government research into the extraterrestrial (allegedly), or home to the world’s first nuclear tests.
It’s also the home of abundant solar resources, in fact, with the overwhelming majority of New Mexico getting more than 6 kilowatt hours per square meter of direct sunlight a day, the state is eclipsed only by Arizona in terms of sunniest states. This makes the New Mexico rife with opportunity for installing both photovoltaics (PVs) and solar thermal energy projects. The state noted that it has “the potential to provide 1,000 times more energy than Public Service Company of New Mexico’s current demand.” In addition, new transmission in the “state would allow the export of large quantities of clean energy.”
To help encourage residents to install solar power on their homes, the state offers some incentives to reduce costs of systems and installation. Among these are a strong net-metering program, various tax credits, property-assessed clean energy (PACE) financing, rebate programs for installing clean energy.
In this sun-drenched, desert state with limited water resources and greatly varying temperatures, energy-efficiency and water conservation are paramount and the state has many incentives for residents and businesses that undertake energy efficiency projects and for practicing sustainable building techniques—including installing renewable energy.
New Mexico has a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that requires investor-owned utilities in the state—i.e., companies like Xcel Energy—to get at least 20 percent of the electricity sold to retail customers from renewable sources by 2020. In addition, the utilities must offer customers the option to purchase energy generated from renewable resources.
The RPS has incremental steps, one of which requires utilities to get 10 percent of power generated for their retail customers to come from renewable sources by 2011. As utilities work to meet these goals, it is becoming important for them to sign customer-generators to distributed-generation contracts, particularly because 3 percent of investor-owned utility’s RPS must come from distributed generation (like home and building owners) by 2015. Of all the renewable power the utilities must include in their portfolio, at least 20 percent must come from solar, another 20 percent from wind, and 10 percent from other renewable technologies. Rural electric cooperatives must get or generate 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020 under the law.
Utilities prove compliance with the renewable energy requirements through renewable energy credits (RECs) that are registered with the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS). Such unused energy credits have a four-year lifespan. Customer-generators entering into net-metering arrangements and performance-based incentive programs with their utility company automatically sell their renewable energy credits to their utility under New Mexico law.
New Mexico is just starting to catch up with its potential. The state started off behind, ranked 22nd in terms of installed solar capacity in 2010. But in 2011, the state installed 116 megawatts and rose to fourth place, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Corporate Tax Credit
- Advanced Energy Tax Credit (Corporate)
- Agricultural Biomass Income Tax Credit (Corporate)
- Geothermal Heat Pump Tax Credit (Corporate)
- Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit (Corporate)
- Sustainable Building Tax Credit (Corporate)
- El Paso Electric Company - Small and Medium System Renewable Energy Certificate Purchase Program
- PNM - Performance-Based Solar PV Program
- Xcel Energy - Solar*Rewards Program
Personal Tax Credit
- Advanced Energy Tax Credit (Personal)
- Agricultural Biomass Income Tax Credit (Personal)
- Geothermal Heat Pump Tax Credit (Personal)
- Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit (Personal)
- Solar Market Development Tax Credit
- Sustainable Building Tax Credit (Personal)
Property Tax Incentive
Sales Tax Incentive
- Advanced Energy Gross Receipts Tax Deduction
- Biomass Equipment & Materials Compensating Tax Deduction
- Gross Receipts Tax Exemption for Sales of Wind and Solar Systems to Government Entities
- Solar Energy Gross Receipts Tax Deduction
State Bond Program
State Loan Program
Utility Rebate Program
- Central New Mexico Electric Cooperative - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
- El Paso Electric Company - Commercial Efficiency Program
- El Paso Electric Company - Residential Efficiency Program
- El Paso Electric Company - SCORE Plus Standard Offer Program
- New Mexico Gas Company - Commercial Efficiency Programs
- New Mexico Gas Company - Residential Efficiency Programs
- PNM - Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
- PNM - Energy Star Home Builder Rebate Program
- PNM - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
- Xcel Energy (Electric) - Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
- Xcel Energy - Residential and Low Income Home Energy Service
Rules, Regulations & Policies
Building Energy Code
Energy Efficiency Resource Standard
Mandatory Utility Green Power Option
Public Benefits Fund
Renewables Portfolio Standard
Solar/Wind Access Policy
Related Programs & Initiatives
The U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC) provides a wide range of information and resources to enable the use of alternative fuels and other petroleum-reduction options, such as advanced vehicles, fuel blends, idle reduction and fuel economy. The AFDC site offers a database of state and federal laws and incentives related to alternative fuels and vehicles, air quality, fuel efficiency, and other transportation-related topics.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Green Power Network provides news and information on green power markets and activities, including opportunities to buy green power. This site provides state-by-state information on green power marketing and utility green power programs. In addition, the site lists marketers of renewable energy credits (RECs), also known as green tags or renewable energy certificates, which represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) enables low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy-efficient. Through this program, weatherization service providers install energy-efficiency measures in the homes of qualifying homeowners free of charge. The WAP program web site offers a state-by-state map of opportunities, projects and activities.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America site provides state-by-state information on wind projects and activities, including wind working groups, validated wind maps, anemometer loan programs, small wind guides, state-specific news, wind for schools, workshops and web casts.