Currently ranked 20th in the country for installed solar, the outlook for solar in the state is bright, with SEIA projecting nearly 4 GW to be added over the next five years, putting the state 12th.
New Mexico, called the Land of Enchantment, enjoys abundant sunlight in a land of wide open spaces. As the fifth largest state out of fifty states in terms of size, it ranks only 46thhe by population density. With just under 15 GW of installed solar capacity, New Mexico ranks 20thhe in the US, which covers around 6.14% of electricity demand, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The outlook for solar power in the state is bright, with SEIA projecting nearly 4 GW to be added over the next five years, bringing the state to 12he place.
As in all US states, solar installations in New Mexico are eligible for the federal investment tax credit along with an $1,800 state credit.
The state also has a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that requires investor-owned utilities to secure 50% of their capacity through carbon-free renewables by 2030 and 100% by 2045. For rural electric cooperatives, it is 40% by 2025, 50% by 2030, and 100% by 2050.
New Mexico Public Utility Company, owned by investor-owned utility PNM Resources, offers a Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) program that will award systems under 10 kW $0.0025 per kWh for the first eight years. Payments are sent once credit exceeds $20.
With a maximum system capacity of 80 MW, residents can receive a credit on their next bill at an avoided cost rate for the excess kWh generated. If the customer leaves the utility, unused credits are paid at the avoided cost rate.
In April 2022, the Public Regulation Commission approved a state policy allowing community solar power of up to 200 MW, divided by utilities. The New Mexico Public Service Company has 125 MW; Southwest Public Service has 45 MW; El Paso Electric has 30 MW, all of which last through April 2024. There is also a stipulation that 30% of the electricity produced by a community solar installation goes to low-income subscribers. Native American power authorities and rural electric cooperative projects in the state are not restricted by the cap.
InClime Solutions, a veteran-owned company that reviews U.S. energy efficiency and renewable energy incentive programs, recently announced 200 MW of projects selected for inclusion in the upcoming New Mexico Community Solar Program list of 1, 7 GW of projects presented.
A recent study from the University of New Mexico found that community solar power can provide a major economic boost to New Mexico at a time when it is desperately needed. The study found that community solar power:
- Generate $517 million in economic benefits
- Create 3,760 high-quality jobs in various sectors in the next 5 years
- Generate more than $2.9 million in tax revenue a year for the state financed by private companies without the need for increased taxes or state investment
Emblematic solar installations
In June 2022, the New Mexico Public Service Company announced that it would move forward with four solar plus storage projects to replace the 847 MW coal-fired San Juan Generating Station.
The four projects scheduled to replace the fossil fuel generating station will be located in northwestern New Mexico. The combined projects comprise 650 MW of solar generation and 300 MW/1.2 GWh of energy storage. Two of the projects have already been approved by state regulators: Arroyo Solar, owned by DE Shaw Renewable Investments, which registers 300 MW and 150 MW/600 MWh of storage, and Jicarilla Solar I, developed by Hecate Energy, with 50MW and 20MW. /80MWh.
Commercial solar is also on the rise in New Mexico with Meta, Walmart and Target all having solar installations in the state. Meta’s 50 MW project in Sandoval County is one of the largest. Public Service Co. of New Mexico and New Mexico Renewable Development LLC signed an agreement in 2019 to build the solar panel to power a Meta data center (Facebook).
The last stop on the usa pv magazine The 50-state solar incentive tour was Arizona. Next, we’ll head northwest and tour Washington’s incentives.
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