Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Innovative solar rebates in New Mexico: REC's + Net metering

Hello solarDwellers:

Check out what the state powers that be in New Mexico are doing to create more growth in the solar market in New Mexico, a place that's got about 1,000,000 days of sun per year, in this article

What I like about N.Mexico's plan is a production-based incentive, giving solar owners credit for helping utilities reach a certain percentage of power produced by renewable energy(RPS or Renewable Portfolio Standard). On top of paying solar pv owners the retail rate for electricity the home's solar panels send back to the electricity grid, the state will pay solar owners a flat .13/kWh of solar electricity produced on top of the retail rate. And this REC .13/kWh credit applies for total solar energy produced, not just the "excess" that's sent back to the grid using net metering, but also any solar electricity that is consumed by that same household. In essence, solar owners are getting paid for solar WELL ABOVE the retail rate for electricity.

On top of these state credits, New Mexico also has a new 30% tax credit for solar to go along with the new 30% fed tax credit. Translation: solar is very cheap in New Mexico now! From the article:

Taken together, this means a total rebate of more than 21 cents on average, and based entirely on a system's performance, a method increasingly seen in other states as the way forward for solar policy. Experts say this is an unique approach among state policies supporting solar energy and a rather progressive one at that. "That's pretty innovative stuff," said Sindelar. "It blows me away that happened here in New Mexico."

Ben Luce, President of the Coalition for Clean and Affordable Energy (CFCAE), who was instrumental in pushing for solar incentives in the states, says the utility rebate of around 21 cents per kWh could pay off as much as 45 percent of a typical solar PV system. And coupled with the existing 30 percent Federal tax credit and the new state-based 30 percent tax credit, Luce says this is a break-even profile that effectively pays for the entirety of the solar system.

Sounds like New Mexico's got the picture: if we want even more clean energy, we oughta pay people more for that valuable green energy their roofs produce.
Sign me up.

--the solarDweller
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Kodijack said...

This is surprising to say the least. NM is a high tax state and for them to give anything up is rare. Good find.

--solarDweller (Jason C.) said...

Thanks for your comment!

I think they can avoid the solar choice only so long when they're in a state with the best solar resource in the country! The only challenge for solar in the summer there is that solar panels go down in efficiency when they heat up. It varies by brand-name, but the rule of thumb is for every 1 degree(C) increase in panel temp, the production goes down by .5%. But winter is great for them, because efficiency goes UP by the same amount when surface temps go down. Cool!