Increase energy efficiency and repair your home
Sealing leaks, installing energy-efficient appliances, accessing renewable electricity and driving electric will cut your monthly utility and transportation bills. Here are free or low-cost programs designed to help you lower your energy costs.
- Be on the lookout for free energy efficiency upgrades under the Community Energy Efficiency Development (CEED) grant fund. They will be administered by municipal, Pueblo or tribal governments, the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority or community organizations.
- Low income homeowners and renters may get free weatherization from the New Mexico Energy Smart Weatherization Program Home. Qualify if someone in your household receives Disability Income, Supplemental Security Income and/or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Services offered include insulation, duct repair and sealing, heating/cooling repair or replacement and other actions.
- The HOME Investment Partnership Program provides heating and cooling energy-saving measures, repair or replacement of furnaces, ducting, water heaters, roof and mobile home replacement, code upgrades and utility connections. Click on the link to see qualification criteria.
- What should you do if you do not qualify for a rebate, tax credit or low-income program? Or if you qualify for a free heat pump for example, but need funding for an electrical panel upgrade? There are several financing options for homeowners that you might want to consider. FHA loans for energy upgrades and renewable energy retrofits are in every state.
- This article from the Zero Energy Project is a good overview of many loan/mortgage sources for solar and energy efficiency home improvements.
- This is an overview of Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEMs) or green mortgages that allow existing or prospective homeowners to finance the cost of upgrades in new and existing homes. According to the Dept. of Energy, these mortgages take into account the lower utility bills that will come from the upgrades, and this may result in more favorable financing terms for the borrower. EEMs are sponsored by federally insured mortgage programs (FHA and VA) and the conventional secondary mortgage market. Lenders can offer conventional EEMs, FHA EEMs, or VA EEMs.
- Check with credit unions such as Nusenda or the Clean Energy Credit Union PV loans and other green loans.
- Homewise Home Improvement Loans. Homewise offers affordable financing services to help you maintain and improve your home. Make repairs or add energy efficient features such as electrical panel upgrades, heating and cooling, hot water heaters, windows or solar. Ask if you qualify for the Albuquerque Home Preservation Grant Program or other similar programs that helped this family.
- New Mexico’s Sustainable Building Tax Credit offers residents refundable tax credits for ENERGY-STAR energy-saving installations, meaning even if you do not pay income taxes you qualify for the tax credits. The credits are larger if your income falls below 200% of the federal poverty level or live in affordable housing. Heat pumps ($2,000), insulation (up to $2,000), windows/doors (up to $1,000), heat pump water heater ($700) and EV Charger prep ($1,000).
- 2023 federal poverty line values. For a household of 4, the Federal poverty line is $30,000, so 4-person families with incomes below $60,000 would qualify for the low income SBTC tax credit of $2,000 for a heat pump, for example. Four-person households above $60,000 would qualify for a $1,000 credit.
Veterans Home Rehabilitation and Modification Program provides energy-related home repairs or accessibility modifications to eligible disabled veterans who lack the resources to do so
Veterans may also qualify for $6,000 in efficiency upgrades through a VA Energy Efficient Mortgage.
PNM has the Energy Efficiency Rebate & Discount Programs for Income Qualified Customers. If you get a PNM Home Energy Check-Up you may qualify for a free refrigerator, free weatherization and energy reduction devices and rebate forms for heat pumps and heat pump water heaters. PNM also has rebates for evaporative coolers and at the register discounts for weatherization products.
By 2024, rebates or discounts on energy-saving products will hopefully be available when you purchase them. This Inflation Reduction Act program will be administered by New Mexico. Middle-income households get 50% rebates and low-income households get 100% discounts, up to certain caps. To find out if you qualify: calculator (Español). Visit this example to see how a low and middle income family might use these and other rebates and tax credits to purchase a heat pump.
Loans. If you chose to take out a loan for clean energy appliances, solar or EVs, we recommend looking at Nusenda, the Clean Energy Credit Union (CECU) or similar institutions. For example CECU’s Clean Energy for All Loan programs for minority borrowers and low-income borrowers offers 0.50% rate discount.
If you need help paying your utility bill
PNM Good Neighbor Fund
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) [Solicitud para LIHEAP (PDF para completar/imprimir)]
Energy Assistance Rental Program (Renters and Homeowners)
Community Response 2-1-1 National Support Hotline gives referrals to agencies and organizations. (or call 211)
Electric Vehicles (EVs) cost less to operate than gas-powered vehicles, especially if you can charge them where you live. For example, the Chevy Bolt costs $275/month less in fuel, maintenance, insurance and depreciation than a comparable gas car, according to Plug Star.
But being able to afford and then finding an affordable EV is not always easy in these early days of EV adoption.
Can I afford an EV?
If you decide you cannot afford to purchase an EV, look at the section on this webpage called Can I still drive an EV if I can’t afford to buy one?
The people who benefit the most from EV tax credits are those who make enough money to owe federal taxes. This is because:
- The federal tax credits are non-refundable (30% of EV cost up to $7,500 for new EVs and $4,000 for used EVs). This means the credit gives you a reduction on the amount you owe on your tax bill. If you do not owe any taxes, you do not get any money refunded back. (While the credit is non-refundable for individuals, it is refundable for non-taxable entities like non-profits that purchase a new car).
- Starting in 2024, EV buyers will be able to transfer their EV credit to the dealer who will effectively issue an immediate point-of-sale discount on the price of a new car. Based on this Internal Revenue Document, we believe you will only receive this discount in the amount of taxes you will owe for that year. But we await further guidance from the IRS.
- This is an example of what you could purchase with the federal 30% tax credit. The sales prices are approximate.
- You could effectively purchase a new $27,500 Bolt EV 1 LT for as little as $20,000, depending on your income tax liability (the credit is 30% of $27,500 = $8250, but the maximum allowed is $7,500; car cost = $27,500 – your tax liability up to $7,500).
- A $11,000 used 2014 Leaf could cost as little as $7,700, if you owe $3,000 in taxes (the credit is 30% of $11,000 or $3,300; credit max is $4,000). If not, the price would be between $7,700 and $11,000. Using the Carvana car loan calculator, with $500 down, an average credit score, and a 60 month loan, your monthly credit payments would be $161. However, we do not know that Carvana will participate in the 2024 EV tax credit program.
For people with no taxable income this year, PlugInAmerica recommends leasing a car if you can afford it; the transferred credit could pass through as a reduced lease cost if the dealer is willing.
Beyond tax credits look for for extra savings on the Edmonds rebates site, COSTCO Auto Program and ENERGY STAR rebates page from manufacturers and banks. However to get the federal and state tax credits EVs must be purchased through a dealer.
For the best used cars, check out:
- CleanTechnica: What used cars under $25,000 are worth considering? (Sept. 2022)
- Recurrent Auto article: Best Used Electric Cars from $10k to $25k Check if a car is eligible for used tax credit.
- Inside EVs: Here Are The Best Used EVs That Qualify For The $4,000 Tax Credit
Can I afford an EV charger?
This article describes different charger installation scenarios, with costs ranging from $1,700 to $6,900. Combining federal, state and electricity provider incentives should cover the costs of many installations depending on their configurations.
- Xcel low-income rebate is $2,500.
- PNM low-income EV charger rebate is $2,500. Multifamily income qualified community rebates are up to $5,000/charger port. PNM’s off-peak hours charging program should fill up your tank for ~$3.
- El Paso Electric low-income EV charger rebate is $2,300. (200% Fed poverty level)
- Your Rural Electric Coop may have rebates for chargers.
- The IRA will have rebates in late 2023/early 2024 for electrical wiring costs up to $2,500, if you need to add a 240 volt line for charging. There is also both a rebate and a tax credit for upgrading an electric panel if needed. If there is an existing 240 volt line for a dryer, it can be shared for charging with a circuit splitter.
- If you live in a rural or low-income community, there is an IRA tax credit of 30% up to $1,000 for a charging station.
- The NM State tax credits are $500 or $1000 (<200% Federal poverty level) including installation.
If these incentives won’t work for you, you could look into these alternatives:
- Are you in Xcel’s service area? For $12/month you can rent a charger they install through their EV Accelerate At Home program.
- If you already have a 240 volt line being used by another appliance, consider sharing it with a circuit splitter if an electrician will allow it to avoid wiring or panel upgrades.
- Use Level 1 charging.
- If you are renting, see our section for renters under electric cars and chargers.