Frequently Asked Questions

Contact us if there are questions you’d like to see added to this FAQ. We will try to provide answers as soon as practicable.

Does the utility pay me for my solar panels’ energy? 

No. The energy from your solar panels runs your electric meter in reverse, so you pay less on your utility bill. This is a credit against your monthly consumption that reduces what you owe to the utility, but not a cash payment.

What is “Net Metering”?

Net Metering is the process by which you earn a credit from your solar panels’ output as applied to your electricity consumption and your monthly bill, generally calculated at the retail cost of electricity. This spins your electric meter in reverse, and so is called Net Metering.

What is “Community Solar”?

Community Solar refers to an innovative structure that allows individuals to own a share of a community-scale solar array (a share is usually denominated by some number of PV panels), and receive the economic benefits of the energy output from that share as if it were an individual residential PV array

Can I put solar on my mobile home?

No, but… Mobile homes are generally not able to support a PV array on the roof. However, the Energy Conservation and Management Division of NM Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Dept. has collaborated with Jemez Mountains and Kit Carson Rural Electric Coops, Cornerstones Community Partnerships, and Clean Energy States Alliance in developing “PV-on-a-Pole” for this purpose. For information contact Mark Gaiser at NM EMNRD.

What is a “Power Purchase Agreement”?

Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are long-term contractual agreements to buy the output of a generation source, such as a PV solar array. They can be very useful in arranging project financing, as they provide a secure cash flow that can guarantee a bank loan, enable the project developer to monetize tax credits, and satisfy cost-share requirements for federal grant funding.

How do I find funding sources for solar projects?

There are several options available (see the Resources – Funding page), including financing provided by commercial installers and developers; bank and credit union loans; third-party investors, including tax-credit monetization; Power Purchase Agreements; and grants (state, federal, and philanthropic). There is also an excellent guide provided by the NM Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Dept.

How do I find cost-share for federal renewable energy project grants?

This can be challenging, because other federal sources (with some exceptions) are not allowed to be used for cost-share, and the most common federal funding program is DOE’s Office of Indian Energy Tribal Infrastructure grants, which are sizable and require a 50% (i.e., half of the total project budget) cost-share. At least one NM tribe has successfully utilized a Power Purchase Agreement with its local electric coop, to guarantee a bank loan which satisfied the cost-share requirement. NM state funds can also be used, as can philanthropic grants.