Below you’ll find the top solar companies in New Mexico as ranked by us and reviewed by verified solar customers. To learn more about what goes into our “Best Rank” score for each company, visit our How We Rank page. For our full New Mexico Solar Overview, keep reading:
New Mexico has long championed and promoted the adoption of solar energy, with steady growth in community solar projects every year since 2010. In 2019, the Land of Enchantment passed an incredibly ambitious renewable portfolio standard (100 percent by 2045), and boasts a number of other state-level incentives and pro-solar policies designed to make solar power both accessible and affordable to New Mexicans throughout the state.
Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of going solar in New Mexico.
Here's an at-a-glance description of the current benefits and drawbacks of switching to solar in New Mexico:
Although solar panel systems still require a significant upfront investment, the cost of going solar has fallen precipitously over the last 10 to 20 years. Solar panels alone can go for about $8,000 to $10,000, and when you factor in inverter and roof-mounting equipment and materials, that number can jump to a little more than $16,000 (assuming a 5 kilowatt system capacity), which is fairly competitive compared to similar systems in other states. This number can vary depending on energy efficiency, size, and other factors.
If that wasn’t enough, the levelized cost of solar energy — the projected system costs divided by the system output over 25 years — in New Mexico is only about 5 cents per kWh compared with 29 cents for traditional energy over that same period.
New Mexico offers a full slate of solar financing options that fit just about any budget, from direct purchase and solar loans to solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPA):
Direct purchase is the fastest and most effective way to see returns on one’s solar PV system. Assuming roughly $16,000 for a 5 kW system, customers would immediately qualify for the federal tax credit worth 30 percent of the system’s upfront costs, or $4,800). So, in reality, solar customers would be paying a little more than $11,000 upfront for a full solar panel system in New Mexico.
The payback period for a system of that capacity is only about six years, meaning customers will have about 19 to 20 years of pure savings. After 25 years of operation, homeowners will have netted about $22,000 — with home values increasing by an average of $12,500!
An alternative to direct purchase, solar loans allow homeowners to finance their system with zero money down, low rates, and a 15-year repayment plan. Assuming customers borrow enough to finance a 5 kW system ($16,000 or so), they will experience savings from day one. That said, loan payments will still be only marginally higher than the monthly electric bill, meaning homeowners will still need to pay a few hundred dollars in utilities after the first year.
However, as utility rates increase each year, the gap between loan payments and utility payments will get smaller and smaller. And considering borrowers will still qualify for the federal solar tax credit, their savings will only improve. Once the loan is paid off after 15 years, borrowers can expect to save about $1,500 a year on their electricity bill, netting a little more than $15,000 after 25 years of system operation.
New Mexicans can lease a solar system for zero money down and for monthly payments that are often lower than traditional utility bills. While the savings may be small, amounting to little more than a couple hundred dollars each year, so is the investment. Solar leases allow residents to rent their system, leaving the cost of installation and maintenance with the solar provider.
A PPA works similar to a solar lease; but rather than renting the system, residents make monthly payments for the solar energy their systems produce. In New Mexico, the savings are comparable to a solar lease, and will translate to a little more than $6,000 over a 20-year contract.
Although New Mexico does not offer a solar tax credit at the state level, nor do utility companies in the state provide residents with rebates to further lower the cost of switching to solar energy, the state does provide a few incentives in the form of tax exemptions.
New Mexico offers two tax exemptions for solar installation projects in the state:
Thanks to recent legislation in the New Mexico supreme court, solar-friendly policies in the state abound. With an RPS and solar carve-out to incentivize utility companies to make room for solar, and net metering and interconnection policies to incentivize residents to make the switch, solar energy in New Mexico is projected to grow for years to come
A state’s renewable portfolio standard represents its goal to attribute a certain percentage of its total energy output to renewable sources like wind power, natural gas, and solar energy by a set deadline. The RPS also assigns stiff financial penalties to utility providers that fail to meet this standard. At 100 percent by 2045, New Mexico’s RPS is one of the most competitive and ambitious in the nation.
This RPS also comes with a solar carve-out of 4 percent by 2020, which as of 2020, the state has already surpassed at 5.27 percent.
New Mexico’s statewide net metering law requires utility providers to credit solar users for the surplus electricity their systems contribute to the utility grid each month. While this policy ranks as one of the best in the nation, one area of improvement is in extending the policy to cover customer-used solar generators as well.
Interconnection rules refer to the standards solar panel systems must meet before they can plug into the utility grid. In New Mexico, the rules are fairly straightforward and don’t require homeowners to jump through additional hoops (e.g. additional homeowners insurance provisions, costly external disconnect switches, etc.) to start saving on their utility bill.
New Mexico is one of the top solar producing states in the country, with steady utility and growing residential investment every year since 2010. As of 2020, the state has installed more than 1,000 megawatts of solar power, enough energy to keep the lights on in more than 250,000 homes. The state also hosts 73 solar companies, providers, installers, and manufacturers employing more than 2,000 people.
Interested in a solar quote? Check out the top-ranked solar companies in New Mexico and read reviews from verified solar customers.