Solar Panel Installation, Santa Fe, NM
Who can install solar panels in Santa Fe, NM?
So there’s good news and bad news. Bad news first- Santa Fe does not have just piles and piles of solar installers available for you to pick and choose from. However, the good news is that a lot of solar installers are very willing to travel to get your business. Some installers even cover entire states, depending on their location. So by no means should you limit your search range to just Santa Fe or even the greater Santa Fe region. With Albuquerque only an hour away, there’s a very good chance a number of companies from there would be more than happy to come to you. To that end, we will first spotlight a few prominent companies from the Santa Fe area, then we’ll expand outward and show you a few from the greater Albuquerque metroplex.
Company Name: Somos Solar
Address: 3600 Cerrillos Rd Ste 101, Santa Fe, NM 87507
Business Quote: “As a division on Santa Fe Stucco & Roofing, a leading trade operator in the southwest, the mission of Somos Solar is to provide the superlative standard of solar installation in New Mexico.”
Company Name: Green Home Systems
Address: 1704 Llano St ste b-1034, Santa Fe, NM 87505
Company Quote: “GHS has the expertise necessary as well as the benefit of large scale national buying power to give you the best quality system for your home or business at the most economical price. We take pride in offering the best customer service in the industry.”
Company Name: Positive Solar Energy
Address: 3209 Richards Ln, Santa Fe, NM 87507
Business Quote: Positive Energy Solar works hard for our customers. After all, we’re your neighbors! We’re homegrown New Mexicans, making the most of our states clean energy potential for the last 20 years.
Address: 3212 Richards Ln, Santa Fe, NM 87507
Years in Business: 12
Reviews: 2.6 / 5 Birdseye (5 reviews), 5 / 5 Facebook (2 reviews)
Company: Affordable Solar
Address: 4840 Pan American, Albuquerque, NM 87109
Years in Business: 23
Reviews: 4.6 / 5 Solar reviews (79 reviews), 4 / 5 Yelp (14 reviews), 4.8 / 5 Angi (39 reviews), 4.6 / 5 Birdseye (182 reviews), 4.5 / 5 Facebook (61 reviews)
Company Quote: “Affordable Solar … remains committed to the principles on which the company was founded. And we’re making the world a better place. One solar installation at a time.”
Company: Solar Works Energy
Address: 500 Marquette Ave NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
Years in Business: 6
Reviews: 5 / 5 Yelp (1 review), 4.5 / 5 Birdseye (84 reviews), 4 / 5 Facebook (10 reviews)
Company Quote: “Get green energy to go with your blue skies and save an average of 40% on your electric bill.”
Company: Poulin Solar Pro
Address: 8600 Pan American Fwy NE, Albuquerque, NM 87113
Years in Business: 38 (sort of)
Reviews: 5 / 5 Yelp (1 review), 4.7 / 5 ChamberofCommerce.com (48 reviews), 4.8 / 5 Birdseye (48 reviews)
Company Quote: “Go Solar and own your system for the same payment you pay to PNM every month! Get rid of your electric bill and Go Green”
Address: 1411 Broadway Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87102
Reviews: 4.5 / 5 Facebook (15 reviews), 4.5 / 5 Birdeye (25 reviews)
Business Quote: “Established in 1998, Unirac is one of the leading manufacturers of solar photovoltaic mounting solutions in North America.”
Ok, so that’s plenty of solar companies, but what am I looking for?
Just like with most any other industry, you have to do your research before putting this much money into a project. But you might be asking yourself, what should you be looking for in a solar company? Below are just a few ideas about things you might need to look into before taking the plunge.
Time in the industry: Why do you put together a resume when you’re looking for a job? To show your qualifications and experience, because that’s a big part of what people look for when making a hire. The same thing applies in finding a solar company to do your installation. One of the first things you’ll want to look at in a company is their time in the industry. It goes without saying, the longer a company has been in business, the better the likelihood they do good, reputable work and provide good customer service. It also is worth noting that a company who has been at it a long time has likely seen many if not all of the little things that can and will go wrong when doing an installation, so you’ll have peace of mind knowing they can probably handle anything that might come up.
Types of Panels: Not all solar companies are comfortable working with every kind of solar panel. Some companies only want to use certain kinds of panels, so if you have a preferred type of style of panel, it’s a good idea to make sure the solar installer you want to work with is good with doing it the way you want it done.
Payment Plans: Solar panels are great and all, but it’s gonna be a little expensive no matter what incentives or credits you get, and there’s a good chance that you, like most people, aren’t going to have the money to pay for them out of pocket. Your solar installers understand that, and many solar companies offer some form of in-house financing or other payment options. Other solar companies don’t care how you pay for it, they just want their money. All of it. Right now. So before you make any commitment or sign any papers, make sure that you know what’s going to be asked of you in terms of payment and be certain you’re prepared to do whatever it is you’re going to have to do to get these things paid for.
Warranties: Almost every solar company is going to have some form of warranty available on their work. But some warranties are only going to cover any errors a company might make in the course of their installation, and even then you’re going to pay a service fee any time you call them out- and if your solar panels last 20 or 25 years, you’re going to end up calling them out. Other warranties are far more comprehensive, covering not only installation errors but also covering manufacturers errors as well, often at no charge whatsoever to the customer. So while the nature of a warranty may not be a dealbreaker for you, it can be a big factor in your decision making process.
Reviews: And probably the most telling tool for anybody researching anything these days, online reviews. The internet is a savage place and people typically aren’t going to hold back their true feelings, especially when they’re upset with a company or their work. And it’s easy for a couple of people with a grudge to go out there and drop a couple of bad reviews, so I wouldn’t let one or two bad reviews scare you away from a solar installer. But if you’re doing your research and find a litany of bad reviews from lots of different customer experiences, this might be a major red flag.
How much do solar panels cost in Santa Fe?
Throughout the state of New Mexico, solar panels range from $2.40 to $2.70 per watt, which is significantly below the national average of about $3.00. Most commercially available solar panels come in 250 watt sizes, which means your solar panels in New Mexico will cost you around $600-$675. Considering you will need about 20 to 30 solar panels , you’re looking at something between $12,000 and $18,000 just for your solar panels themselves, and that’s on the low end. However, the good news is there are numerous rebates, credits and other benefits available for people who buy and install solar panels to help you offset the cost of your solar panels, so keep reading.
What are the benefits of solar power in Santa Fe?
So obviously, we all know two things about solar power- It’s good for the environment, with the free clean energy and whatnot, and it’s good for your bank account. Your electric bill will be greatly reduced if not eliminated completely by the addition of solar panels, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars every month. This by itself is a big enough benefit for a lot of people, but there’s a lot more out there. Here’s a few other things you need to know:
- New Mexico has strong net metering laws which require utility companies to measure the output of your solar power system, how much of that electricity you actually use and how much gets fed back into the power grid. The end result of this is that your utility company must credit you for any electricity you “sell” them. This can come in the form of credits on future electric bills or cash payments.
- New Mexico has statewide interconnection standards. This basically means that anywhere in New Mexico you install solar panels, you’re going to do it the same way. This makes it easier for your solar installer to do and will more than likely mean they can do it faster and more efficiently, thereby probably costing you less money to do the job.
- The state of New Mexico offers a state tax credit that allows solar customers to claim up to 10% of your solar purchase & installation as a credit toward your state income taxes, up to a total of $9,000, and there is virtually no way that 10% of your purchase will come out to over $9,000 unless you’re started a solar farm. And even better, this is not a simple tax write off, but an actual credit toward your income tax liability- as in, if you owe $9,001, but you have a $9,000 credit, then you will pay a grand total of $1. So realistically, this is an outstanding incentive for solar customers and can theoretically pay for a good portion of your solar installation by itself.
- The state of New Mexico offers performance based incentives (in this case, they call them “solar renewable energy credits”), which come to you in the form of credits on your energy bills. These PBIs are based on the amount of electricity your solar power system creates and feeds back into the power grid.
- New Mexico also exempts solar purchases and installations from state sales taxes. New Mexico state sales tax is about 5%, and thus you could potentially save $700 or even more off your total bill thanks to this handy little incentive.
- By the way, you are also exempt from property tax reassessment in New Mexico based on your solar improvements. Essentially this means that your property taxes will not go up based on your solar installation, even though the value of your property will, which is a win/win in my book.
- The federal investment tax credit, available to all American tax payers, allows you to deduct 26% of the total cost of your system and installation from your federal income tax liability. Again, if you’re looking at a cost of $20,000 or more, this is a huge potential savings. Your solar installer will be able to tell you more about this and how to claim it.
- The value of your home will increase with the addition of solar panels. It is difficult to say how much- a lot of that is dependent on your home’s current value as well as the size of your system. However, you can expect an increase of at least $10,000 to $20,000, possibly much more. A realtor can give you a much better idea of how much you can potentially add to your home’s value with solar panels. Another thing worth noting is that homes with solar panels tend to sell far faster than homes without.
- The “payback” period on solar panels is how long they take to pay for themselves- because the great news is, solar panels will inevitably pay for themselves. And in New Mexico, solar panels will pay for themselves in 10 to 10 & ½ years. So after that period of time, you can expect your solar panels to not only pay for themselves, but also begin to pay you. Because remember, your solar panels will keep generating free electricity and credits long after they’re paid off.
How much solar power do I need?
So the short answer here is that you’ll need something like 20-30 solar panels to power your home and be fully independent of the greater grid. The long answer is that this number will depend directly on a lot of factors, such as how many people live in your home, the size of your home, preferred temperature in your home, etc. Your solar installer will be able to look at your past electric bills and give you a good idea of just how much solar energy you will need to be self-sufficient.
How long do solar panels last?
Most solar panels are warrantied for 20-25 years by both the manufacturer and installer. It is therefore pretty safe to assume your panels will last at least that long, since the manufacturer generally will replace them if they don’t. Similarly, your solar installer will most likely have a warranty that guarantees they will come out and fix whatever is wrong with your solar panels for at least a period of 20 years, sometimes longer. So it is safe to say, your solar panels will be with your much longer than it will take you to pay for them.
Types of solar panels & inverters
So just a quick primer here- There are two basic kinds of solar panels, Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline. You can do further research on them if you like, but it essentially breaks down like this:
Monocrystalline panels- Smaller, more efficient, more expensive, last longer, work with less direct sunlight. You see these less commonly in home installations because, again, they tend to be more expensive.
Polycrystalline panels- These are the bigger panels you often see installed on the ground. They require direct sunlight (no shade), they don’t last as long, but they are cheaper
If you have a preference as to which kind you want to use, it’s a good idea to make sure your installer is on board with the idea before going too far into the process, because some installers won’t do one or the other.
So what are inverters? Inverters are the part of your system that will actually transform captured light into usable electricity. There are three basic kinds that are commonly used in home installations- String inverters, power optimizers and micro inverters. Without going into a lot of details, suffice it to say that you won’t have a lot of choices to make with inverters- different inverters are used in different situations, basically all depending on what kind of panels you use and their position. So don’t worry too much about what kind of inverters to use, you’ll pretty much have to use what you have to use.