10 Reasons to Go Solar in New Mexico
Many people will only give one or two reasons when asked why they chose to go solar, but there are many reasons why people go solar. In this article, we will be covering the top ten reasons why you should go solar in New Mexico. We wish to provide you with a variety of ways that solar is beneficial, from financial to environmental.
Financial Reasons To Go Solar in New Mexico
Let’s start with the main reason that most people give when they go solar — money. Most Americans aren’t interested in doing something that may be environmentally friendly if it ends up costing them more money in the end, particularly if they don’t see any immediate benefits. Luckily, that’s not the case with solar panels.
1. Going Solar Saves You Money in the Long Run
Some doubt whether going solar truly saves you money. They see the price of solar panels and wonder if the savings that come from eliminating their power bill will cover that cost. The answer is yes, and much more. Electricity rates fluctuate constantly, but, unfortunately, they’re trending ever higher. With only a couple of exceptions, energy rates have increased every year since 2000. By relying on a utility for your electricity, you consign yourself to diverting ever-larger amounts of money towards your power. As natural gas gets scarcer, and therefore more expensive, this trend may even accelerate.
2. Most Solar Installations Are Paid Off in Eight Years
A common response to solar is that you’re just replacing your power bill with payments for your solar panels. This is true — but only for a relatively short time period. The average solar installation is paid off after eight years. That may seem like a long time, but most solar panels have a 25-year warrantied lifespan. If your panels are well-kept, and you live in the right area, you can continue to get good value out of your panels for another decade after that, if not more.
You are already committed to at least eight more years of payments anyways, assuming you still plan on using electricity. If you rely on your local utility, then you’re also committed to the increasing costs as well. By going solar, you lock in your energy price right away and, if everything goes according to plan, you eliminate your power bill after just eight years.
3. New Mexico Has Many Solar Incentives
Speaking of prices, New Mexico has several ways to bring down the price of solar. In 2019, New Mexico passed the Energy Transition Act, a bill that mandates that, by 2045, all power produced in the state must come from renewable sources. To help reach this goal, New Mexico has established a slate of incentives that help homeowners go solar.
While the chief incentive isn’t New Mexico specific, it’s still a very good reason to go solar sooner rather than later. The federal solar tax credit (ITC) is an income tax credit worth 26 percent of the value of your system. This tax credit can roll over, so if you don’t use it all in one year, you can still get value out of it in the following years. While technically non-refundable, there are many ways to use the federal ITC to get money in your pocket.
There are many state-level solar incentives as well. Chief among them is the New Mexico solar tax credit. This tax credit, which was allowed to lapse in 2016, only to be brought back into law in 2020, is very similar to the federal tax credit. The New Mexico solar tax credit is worth 10 percent of the cost of the installation or $6,000, whichever is lower. This credit is applied to your state-level taxes.
Additionally, there are sales tax exemptions on solar equipment and services, and the value-added to your home by your solar installation won’t increase your property taxes. When these are all taken together, it becomes clear that there are many financial incentives to go solar.
Environmental Reasons to Go Solar in New Mexico
Besides lowering your energy bills and increasing the value of your home, one of the other chief reasons that people go solar is to help the environment. This is known as a socially responsible investment.
Solar, as a renewable and clean energy source, is much better for the environment than polluting fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. For eco-conscious Americans, going solar is one of the many steps they can take to reduce their impact on the environment.
4. Going Solar Helps Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
One of the chief environmental benefits of going solar is reducing your carbon output. Carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere is one of the chief causes of climate change. One of the chief contributors to carbon dioxide emissions is the energy sector, largely driven by fossil fuels.
With solar, your carbon emissions will be severely reduced. The University of California found that residential solar can reduce a home’s emissions by up to 80 percent. Since America has one of the highest rates of emissions in the world, installing solar is one of the main paths forward. A great way to embrace solar to reduce your carbon footprint is through passive solar. This type of solar is built into your home’s architecture to reduce the amount of power needed for climate control, which is the main culprit of energy use in a home.
5. Solar Can Help Alleviate Symptoms of Droughts
Not many Americans realize that droughts impact electricity generation — and not just because it’s harder to produce hydroelectric power. Many, possibly most, power plants use water as their main cooling source. Power plants that use fossil fuels, which are the majority in New Mexico, require large amounts of water to keep the equipment running and to avoid potential accidents. New Mexico has been hard hit by drought over the past few years. In particular, 2020 was a very dry year — one so dry that experts warned that it was exceptionally dangerous and could take years to recover from. However, solar panels can help alleviate the worst stresses of New Mexico’s summer heatwaves. This is because residential solar reduces the amount of energy needed from the grid, which means that power plants don’t need to produce as much energy. The less energy they have to produce, the less water they need to cool their machinery. This means less of a possibility that they have to shut down and more water available for other uses.
6. Residential Solar and Batteries Protect You in Natural Disasters
The United States Geological Survey warns that climate change will lead to increased droughts and more intense storms. As we all know, one of the main side effects of powerful storms is power outages. These storms can knock down power lines or damage power plant equipment. These storms can lead to outages lasting just a few minutes… or several hours.
New Mexico is notorious for its strong winds in the springtime. However, windy weather can also last into the summer months, depending on which part of the state you live in. One way to alleviate the effects of the strong winds is through residential solar and battery backup.
Residential solar keeps your lights on and AC working during the day. This is a big boon during the spring and summer months when it gets very hot. For those who work from home, this also keeps you online during the workday. But what about at night or when it’s cloudy? That’s where solar batteries come in.
Lithium-ion battery backup is the chief way to keep your home powered when your solar batteries aren’t producing power. This is usually at night or during a storm. During a powerful storm, which can cause damage to the power grid, your battery backup will keep your home powered. Your heating, fridge, and computers will all stay on while the storm rages outside. Learn more about how solar and battery backup help emergency preparedness.
7. New Mexico Will Likely Pass More Environmental Legislation in the Immediate Future
The New Mexico Climate Solutions Act was not passed this year. However, it’s worth knowing what was in it, as it’s likely to return in 2022. The Climate Solutions Act put forward the idea that carbon emissions would need to be cut in half by 2030 (as compared to the 2005 levels). By 2050, the state would have to be net-zero. This is a big change that would necessitate radical shifts in how power is generated and would need a huge investment in public transportation.
While it didn’t pass this year, it is very likely that the bill, or one like it, will return in 2022, perhaps in a more moderate form. However, many residents of New Mexico are going solar despite the bill dying in the legislature. Residential solar would be one of the main ways to reduce carbon emissions, so going solar now can help kickstart the reduction in emissions.
Other Reasons To Go Solar in New Mexico
Besides the financial and environmental reasons to go solar, there are some miscellaneous reasons that might factor into a New Mexico homeowner’s choice to go solar. These range from social respectability to advances in technology.
8. Residential Solar Can Increase Your Social Status
Going solar is popular in America. More than half of Americans either already have solar or are seriously considering it. Additionally, Pew Research reports that more than half of Americans think that the government isn’t doing enough to combat climate change and that environmental protection should be a top priority.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see why solar can increase your social status in your neighborhood. Going solar is a very visible thing — while solar panels are becoming increasingly less noticeable, they still stand out on many roofs. This can be a bad thing, but can also be a good thing. Visible solar panels mean that your neighbors are more likely to notice that you’ve gone solar. They are statistically likely to approve of this, which can make you a popular homeowner in your neighborhood.
9. The Growing Solar Industry Is An Excellent Source for Local Jobs
In our Seven Solar Research and Installation Steps for New Mexico Homeowners page, we cover some of the economic benefits of solar. In particular, one of the biggest advantages is the growing solar job sector. Solar energy is predicted to support nearly 7,000 jobs by 2030, which would triple the current industry size. Solar brought around $1 billion in profits in New Mexico as well, making it one of the industries to watch.
10. The Products On the Market Today Are Better Than Ever
Quality solar products are becoming increasingly affordable. Whereas before you had to pay top dollar for good panels or make do with inefficient polycrystalline panels, the explosion in solar panel production and good incentives have led to good quality products at relatively low prices. While both polycrystalline and monocrystalline panels have their pros and cons, monocrystalline panels are increasingly edging out the competition. Monocrystalline panels are often the recommended choice for homeowners, as they are more efficient. This means more power in less space. Additionally, solar panel prices have dropped significantly in just the past decade. Combine price drops with incentives and you’ll see that there’s little reason to go with low-quality, polycrystalline solar panels.