PNM Solar Rebates: Making Solar a Viable Option
New Mexico photovoltaics is worth the investment because of the ROI of solar. These savings, however, are due in part to the solar incentives that PNM offers its customers.
Without incentives, solar often doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Knowledge of the solar programs a utility offers its customers is the first step toward discovering what is available.
Thankfully, PNM customers are in good hands. They have a utility company with many pro-solar and energy-saving programs to help them reach their energy goals.
PNM Solar Generation Program
PNM has a two-fold solar generation program. This program offers customers compensation for their RECs and net metering.
The solar home needs to be in PNM’s district and grid-connected to qualify. The photovoltaic system also can’t exceed 1 Megawatt.
These incentives, combined with the federal tax credit, make residential solar possible. These incentives allow PNM’s solar generation customers to save money, and it reduces their carbon footprint.
Taking a Look at RECs and PNM
Utilities are required to have a certain number of RECs to help meet this goal. One way a utility can claim certificates is by purchasing them from solar-generating customers.
To qualify for RECs, the owner of the system needs to claim them. Only installations finished on time can claim RECs.
Solar arrays with under 10 kW inverter capacity, have nine months from when the system passes the technical screening to get construction and permitting completed. Homeowners with solar arrays over 10 kW have 12 months to complete the project.
The customer also needs to apply for PNM’s program. This program has a $150 application fee for systems below 10 kW and $450 for systems above 10 kW.
Once the RECs get claimed, PNM will pay the customer $.0025 per kWh for energy produced and consumed on-site for the next eight years. Each year a new capacity for RECs is set. If the customer doesn’t produce and use the set amount of RECs for the year, they lose these credits.
For those that use and produce between 650 and 840 kWh or above 1900 kWh a month, this incentive will pay more than the application fee for the program. However, anyone with less than 650 kWh or between 840 and 1900 kWh will end up paying more.
PNM Solar Net Metering and Connection Requirements
Those that don’t opt into the REC program can get compensated through PNM’s net metering program. Net metering is the other solar generation incentive that PNM offers its customers. New Mexico’s Public Regulation Commission has required net metering since 2008.
Net metering compensates solar customers for excess energy their array produces. If a PNM customer’s array produces more than their home uses in a month, the customer receives credit toward their next bill at the retail rate. These energy credits can carry over from one month to the next.
If the electric service provided by PNM gets canceled, the customer will receive the remaining credits at the avoided cost rate.
PNM Solar Farms and Mass Renewable Energy
For those that don’t have residential solar, PNM offers a couple of different utility solar options. These options make renewable power a choice, no matter the customer’s circumstance.
PNM’s two renewable energy utility-scale programs give large commercial, government and residential customers access to renewable energy. They do not, however, provide cheaper options.
Most utilities charge more for their renewable energy programs. However, if the customer can’t qualify for residential solar but still want to reduce their carbon footprint, these options are worth considering.
The Solar Direct Program
PNM’s Solar Direct Program provides a solar option for large companies over 2.5 Megawatts and government entities. The governmental entities can be any size.
Sky Blue Program
Sky Blue is PNM’s renewable energy project for its residential customers. It has two financial routes that customers can take a block or percentage subscription.
The block subscription allows customers to purchase a predetermined number of blocks of solar energy each month. Although this may not cover all the energy used, it makes the additional cost consistent.
The percentage subscription lets customers choose how much of their energy they want to come from clean energy sources. This option ensures customers have a lower carbon footprint, but can increase costs significantly.
Both of these options charge customers an extra $1.70 per 100 kWh. This program is for people that care about the environment, but it isn’t a good fit for individuals that also want to save money.
Other Ways PNM Encourages Customers to Save
In addition to the solar programs that PNM offers, it also has energy-saving programs. These programs help people determine how much energy they could be saving and how.
Some of these programs also provide incentives for replacing energy-hog appliances. Many energy programs focus on business and low-income customers.
However, there are programs that residential customers can benefit from too. These programs offer incentives and tips to help people save money.
PNM Energy Saver Programs
PNM has several energy-saving programs in place. These programs include the PNM home energy checkup, refrigerator recycling program, cooling and heat pump rebates, pool pump rebates, home lighting discounts and the PNM power saver program.
The energy checkup is an appointment with a PNM professional to assess customer homes and determine where they can save. All these recycling and rebate programs are open to all PNM residential customers.
The power saver program pays customers for using less energy on high usage days. Those that participate in this program receive a free WiFi-connected thermostat $25 for signing up and up to $25 for each year of participation.
PNM Weatherization Program
Not every home is good at keeping unwanted air out, which is why weatherization is necessary. Making sure that cracks get sealed and insulated saves lots of money on energy bills down the road.
PNM is working with the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA) to provide free installation of energy-saving products to their income-qualified customers. Regardless of what energy-conserving rebates are available, solar will increase their saving power, which is why solar in New Mexico is worth considering.