New Mexico Solar Rebates and Incentives

New Mexico PACE Financing

Program Type Property-based Financing
Technologies Photovoltaics and Solar Thermal
Amount Determined locally
Required Documentation Determined by district
Official Web Site

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, Sante 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.

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