New Mexico is rated higher than any other state for annual sunlight hours and solar energy potential. Solar works best as distributed power, generated right where it is needed to run your clean, efficient electric appliances. Solar is quiet, doesn’t emit hazardous fumes and doesn’t require huge amounts of water for cooling like fossil fuels power plants do.
Several studies have shown that solar panels increase property values and attract buyers. Luckily, New Mexico exempts residential solar from both property and gross receipts taxes.
Adding battery storage furthers energy independence and safety by supplying power during grid outages. It will also enable you to take advantage of emerging time-of-use rates by running appliances from the battery when utility rates are the highest.
Although prices are coming down and there are tax breaks for them, batteries are still fairly expensive. But with federal and state tax credits and the launching of New Mexico’s Community Solar program, low cost solar electricity is in reach of more and more New Mexicans.
According to Energy Sage, a 4.9 kilowatt (kW) solar system would supply enough energy to offset the average New Mexican’s monthly electricity bill of $118 for 762 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy. Based on real quotes from their New Mexico Solar Marketplace, Energy Sage estimates an average cost of $16,400 for a 5 kW solar system, with a 10.22 year payback time and a savings of $26,600 in utility bills over 20 years (assuming you pay cash up front). After tax credits however, the effective cost would be $9,840, with a payback of 7 years.
Is solar right for you and your house? What will it cost? How long will the payback time be? Try these calculators to find out. Then read about tax credits, rebates and other incentives that might apply to you.
For people who owe taxes, the price of a solar system can be lowered by a federal credit that reduces income taxes by 30% of the installation and equipment costs and by a state credit of 10% up to $6,000. For the $16,400 system above, the federal credit was $4,920 ($16,400 x 0.30) and the state credit was $1,640 ($16,400 x 0.10). Tax credit and other incentive details are below.
For renters, people with shaded, small or otherwise unsuitable roofs, people who cannot afford solar on their own, and people who want local control of their energy, there are several solutions.
Buy clean energy from your energy provider, such as PNM’s Sky Blue® Program and Xcel’s Solar*Connect Community, for an extra charge. (Because of the Energy Transition Act, New Mexico electricity generation is getting greener all the time).
Subscribe to a New Mexico Community Solar solar farm
Join a Local Energy Cooperative
New Mexico requires net metering, meaning that if your system is connected to the grid, any excess electricity it generates will be banked by your electricity provider for use at a future time. In a sense the utility is acting like a battery. However, there are reasons you might opt for a real battery to charge up when the sun is plentiful and discharge when the sun is down, rates are expensive, or in emergencies.
Ultimately the kind, number and size of the batteries you choose will depend on your budget, where you install them, your existing or planned solar system and what you want your batteries to do for you. Solar United Neighbors’ Battery Storage Guide for Homeowners is an easy-to-understand and comprehensive introduction to the essential factors to consider. This table from Energy Sage may also be useful in guiding your choice.
Estimate the power/energy your essential appliances use
Trojan Renewable Energy Battery Sizing Calculator
Enphase Battery System Calculator
SunPower battery/solar system Calculator
Solar United Neighbors Battery Storage Guide for Homeowners
MarketWatch Guide to Solar Batteries of 2023
EcoWatch Best Solar Batteries
Department of Energy Should I Get Battery Storage?
Forbes Home: Everything You Need To Know About Solar Batteries
This Old House: What Are the Main Types of Solar Batteries?