Are you interested in solar panel installation in Las Cruces? Do you wish to integrate solar technology into your home and/or business establishment but don’t know where and how to get started? If yes, you need not worry anymore. You have arrived at the right place.
At New Mexico Water and Electric, we take solar very seriously. We prioritize the effective utilization and seamless implementation of solar technology into your everyday activities. This way, you can take pride in adopting a greener alternative while also taking advantage of the abundant sunshine in New Mexico.
In this article, we shall briefly walk you through well-researched and authentic information about everything related to solar; from financing to the best local New Mexico contractors to help you choose the best one from Las Cruces Solar Companies.
Before we get started, here are some of the most important things to be decided prior to solar installation.
- Decide what you will use solar power for – hot water, pool heating, or electricity. Each of the aforementioned uses requires different types of solar panels.
- We recommend that you consider an energy efficiency setup first. Talk to an energy auditor to know how much energy you can save by making certain improvements and going solar. Use this information to work on your home improvements and reduce your electric/heating load. With a clear picture in mind, you can have the right solar equipment installed and can also save money.
- Decide on the placement of solar panels. Consider where they would be located. It is obvious that they need to be placed in an open, unshaded area, but you need to decide whether they would go on the ground, on a pole, or on the roof. This will depend on the structure and layout of your home, costs, aesthetics, etc. It is worth noting that the PV panels need to face south or southwest to maximize the generation of electricity. Alternatively, pool heating coils or mats tend to have greater flexibility when it comes to location.
Roofs & Solar location
Most customers understandably prefer solar installations on the roof as that is the sunniest spot. However, you need to consider the current state of your roof before installation. Solar panels, once installed, last about 25 to 30 years, easily. In case you plan to have your old roof replaced with a new one, the panels need to be removed as well.
Thus, if you believe that your roof needs a replacement, we recommend that you finish the replacement before installing solar panels. If your roof is absolutely fine and only needs to be coated once in a while, that could be accomplished while having the solar panels in place.
Solar installers are cautious about filling in any holes they might need to drill in your roof to mount the panels. Therefore, you can be sure there won’t be any leaks. However, if you are still worried about your roof warranty, you can talk to the roofing company before installing the panels.
Sizes and Costs
One of the first internet-based solar cost and savings estimation sites in the US, Solar-estimate.org, offers consumers financial analysis to help them get an idea of the costs of installation. It also gives them an estimate of possible savings along with the panel costs.
You should have a review of your monthly electricity bills to find out the potential requirement of a PV system and discuss it with the solar company. In addition, you could also use an online solar calculator to get a brief idea of how many solar installations you can have at your place. Many of these calculators also show how much the setup could produce.
Decide on how you will be financing it. From loans to leases, you can opt for a wide range of services. We recommend contacting local, reputable, and popular Las Cruces solar companies like New Mexico Water & Electric to get reasonable quotes right away!
Choosing a Contractor
New Mexico is blessed with abundant sunshine for about 310 days annually and this has helped New Mexico establish itself as a leader in the solar industry. This has led to many local, state, and federal institutions offering lucrative incentives to homes and businesses that install solar panels. Therefore, it is crucial to choose licensed contractors who understand both the technicalities and the incentives available for solar installation in homes and businesses.
The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department
The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department play a key role in ensuring that all the contractors of Las Cruces Solar companies are properly licensed and conduct a fair business. The registrar also sees that licensed contractors fulfill all regulatory, training and experience requirements necessary to ensure consumers don’t have to deal with poor workmanship or other fraudulent activities.
You can also find additional information on New Mexico and the rest of the United States in the Solar Licensing Database that is maintained by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).
Tips for Consumers from the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department
- Buyers/consumers may review their contractor’s license here.
- Be sure to ask your contractor for references and check them out before signing the deal.
- Talk to at least 3 contractors and obtain written estimation slips before making up your mind.
- Always have with you a brief list of the tasks/work to be performed.
- Get all the required permits. Please note that this is the responsibility of the home/business owner.
- Avoid paying a worker in cash.
Here’s how you can Find the Best Solar Company
As stated above, we recommend that consumers interested in solar panel installation in Las Cruces talk to at least three licensed solar contractors. You need to evaluate the experience of each installer as they know the precise costs involved in installation along with the local codes and permissions required.
Still, confused? Here are 6 questions you should definitely get answers to from your contractor.
- How long has the contractor been in business? How much solar has the company installed to date? We advise you to choose a solar company that has been active in the solar industry for at least 3 years.
- Find out if your contractor is NABCEP certified. Do not shy away from asking for proof.
- Know if the contractor is licensed and insured to work as a solar installer/electrician in your state. Again, request to see the license and proof of insurance.
- What are the names of the module and inverter manufacturers whose products your contractor uses for installation? Check for the warranties. Do your research and check the authenticity of all the information provided to you.
- Be sure to ask for the contact details of references. Don’t fail to check them out.
- Ask for pictures of previously installed systems similar to the ones that will be installed at your house. If they cannot show pictures, chances are that they have not done any actual work.
Did you know that the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer and Environmental Protection Division is responsible for safeguarding the residents, economy, environment, and natural resources of New Mexico? Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is the voice of the solar industry at both federal and state levels. It advocates for the protection and expansion of the United States market for solar technologies.
They act as a representative of the whole solar industry. In order to protect customers and adopt the best practices, they have summed up the ideal principles in a book named SEIA – Solar Business Code. While this code is not mandatory, it has been agreed upon by all the members of SEIA.
In addition to the above, you can always lodge complaints about any kind of fraudulent or unscrupulous acts by solar contractors to the Better Business Bureau, the New Mexico Register of Contractors, or the New Mexico Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Unit.
How can you Finance Your Home Solar System?
For many residential solar consumers, the options available include buying, taking a loan, or leasing equipment (less commonly preferred). If you need detailed information on how to finance your solar project, you could take a look at the following:
- Homeowner’s guide to solar financing: Leases, loans, and PPA’s – Published by the CESA- Clean Energy States Alliance, this document is a brief guide on all forms of financing available for solar projects. Additionally, it also includes a checklist of the most important items, but it does entirely cover the negatives of lease escalation clauses and potential issues with sales of homes with leases of solar equipment.
- Solar power for your home: A consumer’s guide – Published by LSU Ag Center, this guide provides all additional details. It also has a checklist of 60 questions, especially for all the potential solar lessees and buyers. In addition, it also contains a whole section comparing buying and leasing options. It also pays special attention to ‘savings prediction’, which is a commonly anticipated return on investment.
- Homeowner’s Guide to leasing a solar electric system – This short but helpful guide is published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and contains a brief description of the terminology used in leases.
How to Finance a Commercial Solar System?
Similar to the residential solar market, financing solar projects can be done through any one of the available options – buying outright with cash, taking a loan, signing a lease agreement, or financing the solar project by entering into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)/Solar Services Agreement (SSA). In fact, solar installers and their suppliers are the most common source for financing commercial solar projects.
Many lending institutions like banks and credit unions have come forward to make financing easy for such projects. That is why arranging for a solar installation these days is not much different from leasing or purchasing other business equipment.
Property assessed clean energy (PACE), allows solar and other projects, such as energy efficiency or water savings, in many states of the United States to be financed and repaid alongside taxes. While New Mexico has recently passed legislation to allow businesses to finance their solar projects via addition to property taxes, no PACE programs are currently applicable here.
In case you wish to read up more on commercial financing options for your solar installation, you can take a look at Solar Financing Options for homeowners – an infographic. You could also get an idea of the costs by using the To lease or to own: Simplified solar calculator.
Tax – credits, incentives & rebates
Federal Tax Credits
The investment tax credit (ITC) is a 30 percent federal tax credit for solar installations on residential and commercial properties. It was in effect through 2019, post which it fell to 26 percent in 2020 and will drop to 22 percent in 2021, and 10 percent in 2022. It is worth noting that this is a tax credit and not a deduction. The payment will be received by owners into their accounts apart from any returns you could be expecting.
Sustainable Building Tax Credit
STBC is an IT Credit to inspire the private sector to construct energy-efficient and sustainable properties for both commercial and residential purposes.
NM Net Metering
New Mexico follows a net metering policy that credits homeowners for all the extra electricity produced by their system. The owners are allowed to use those credits when the system does not generate enough power. These rates change every month and you can check them here.
Property Tax Exemption
Did you know that solar could increase the value of your home? What’s better, you ask? This extra value is exempted from the property taxes in New Mexico. Alongside the financial benefits of generating your own power, you also do not have to worry about getting a higher tax bill. You can refer to the Property tax exemption for solar for more details.
National Database of State Incentives
DSIREUSA.org is a national database that is maintained by the United States Department of Energy. It is the most comprehensive up-to-date source of information on local, state, federal, and utility rebates. Along with the above, it also includes a list of incentives and policies that can help in promoting the adoption of solar technologies and greater energy efficiency.
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