0- INTRODUCTION & EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


www.GoSolarNowNM.info was designed to help homeowners decide if solar is right for them, and how to move forward.

Going solar has become so cost effective that it is not only for the well-to-do anymore! It is now more likely than ever that you'll discover going solar is right for you, and that it constitutes a great investment and can save you money!

The information is provided purely to help you:
  • educate yourself on how to best pick your solar electric system;
  • choose the solution that is best for your needs;
  • understand, protect and maximize your investment.

The information contained in Pages 1 through 4 allows you to decide for yourself if you should go solar and how, at your own pace without the pressure of a sale, and without the potential bias of a solar provider.

If you have already decided that solar is right for you, simply skip Page 1.
To find out about the author of this website and why it was created, you can visit Page 5
Page 6 brings you news, interesting links and articles, as well as updates that I find interesting.

Luckily, if you live in Santa Fe County, they have dedicated resources for a Santa Fe County Energy Specialist. Her name is Claudia Borchert, and her phone number is (505) 992-9872. Click here for Craig O'Hare's 2-page Solarize Santa Fe flyer. (Craig O'Hare was the previous Santa Fe County Energy Specialist).

This website has no ties to any solar provider or manufacturer, and is not meant to specifically endorse a particular manufacturer or provider. However, it presents objective data and information as well as comparison charts and tables regarding the various panel manufacturers and solar providers, revealing their strengths and weaknesses in various categories. 

Please remember - no one solution is right for everyone - that is why this site exists, to educate you so that you can make the best choice for you!

Also note that although a lot of the information presented in this site is useful and interesting for everyone in the US, some of the numbers regarding Utility cost are NM (PNM) specific, and the list of solar providers is almost entirely local to NM (except for SolarCity and Sungevity which are nation-wide). So if you don't live in NM, please be aware that things change a little in the outlying cooperatives and in different states.

I do realize that this website contains A LOT of information. That information is not meant to be read all at once, so do not hesitate to come back to it or skip some of its sections. My goal was to provide a friendly enough resource/reference placing useful information all in one place, which can then be read and shared at one's pace and leisure.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

To help you navigate this site more easily, and prepare you on you journey I will share my personal recommendations in a brief summary:

1. Before you start, find out what your yearly electricity consumption is, in kWh. 
The last 12 months should be available on your utility bill. 
You can contact your utility company and they will give you the exact number. 
If the data on your bill is in a bar graph form, you don't need to be too precise in extracting the value: close counts are good enough.

2. Calculate your approximate system size in kW from the simple formula: 
System size in kW = ( 
Yearly consumption in kWh ) / (0.8 x Yearly Solar Radiation)
- if you are in Santa Fe or Albuquerque, NM:
Size = Yearly consumption in kWh / 1680
.
if you are in Las Cruces, NM: 
Size = Yearly consumption in kWh / 1840.
- if you are in an area that receives a different amount of sun, check here for your yearly solar radiation value

3. If your roof is flat, go with a ballasted roof mount.
Such an installation does not require any holes to be drilled and therefore minimizes the potential for roof leaks down the road.

4. Learn about the various solar panels and solar panel manufacturers
Understand that most providers/installers are NOT manufacturers (however SolarCity is with its acquisition of Silevo in 2014.)
Per SVTC, the top 3 manufacturers are SunPower, Solar World & Trina.

5. Panel d
esign features (circuitry position, angle sensitivity to the sun, energy production balance), panel degradation and production warranty, life expectancy, and efficiency are all important factors to consider when choosing your panels. 
After reading about this, you will understand that SunPower panels currently perform better than competitors' panels on many frontsFor example, 
SunPower panels still produce 
at least 70% of their original rated power output 40 years later
This is important when thinking of your solar panels as a financial (very) long term investment
However, SunPower panels are not the least expensive panels out there, so if it makes more sense for you to save as much as possible at the beginning, make sure to consider less expensive panels that are well rated by the SVTC.
Always make sure to
decide
what's right for you
!

6. Know that certain providers will not give you the name of the panel's manufacturer.
They will simply install solar panels of any brand without specifying in advance.

7. Contact at least 3 solar providers and 
choose local providers whenever you can. 
You will find that system size estimates and even cost for the same equipment can vary from installer to installer, so it is a good idea to get three bids or more.
Choosing local providers helps the local economy, and this way, you are protected with a much better level of service in the event that something were to go wrong somewhere down the line. 
In my quest for solar, I was very lucky to work with Dan Baker (who has since parted ways with CST and now works for Positive Energy Solar) and who was extremely helpful in responding to 
my particular needs
.

8. Compare the quotes and make your decision.

9. Don't forget to act now to take advantage of the 30% federal (and possible state) tax credits.
The cap for the NM tax credit was attained in July 2016, so unless the Legislature passes a new bill, these 10% are not available.