common home Solar misconceptions

Solar PAnels 101

Are you considering making the switch to solar energy, but have some doubts about it? You’re not alone! In this blog post, we’ll be debunking some common misconceptions about solar energy and explaining why it’s such a great idea for homeowners.

First things first: solar panels do work in cloudy or cold climates. It’s a common misconception that solar panels are only effective in sunny, warm locations. However, this simply isn’t true. Solar panels are designed to produce electricity from sunlight, and while it’s true that they may be less efficient in cloudy or cold conditions, they can still produce a significant amount of electricity. In fact, some of the cloudiest and coldest places on earth, such as Germany and Denmark, have some of the highest levels of solar energy adoption (Source: Solar Power Europe). So don’t let a little cloud cover or a chilly winter day deter you from going solar.

Next up: maintenance. One of the biggest misconceptions about solar panels is that they require a lot of maintenance. In reality, solar panels are extremely low maintenance and generally require little to no attention. They are built to withstand harsh weather conditions and are designed to last for decades (Source: EnergySage). All you really need to do is keep them clean (which is easy to do with a little bit of water and a soft cloth) and perform a visual inspection every once in a while to make sure everything is in working order.

The cost of solar

Now let’s talk about cost. I know that when it comes to investing in anything, cost is always a major factor. And it’s true that solar panels can be a significant upfront investment. However, the cost of solar panels has decreased significantly in recent years, and it’s expected to continue to do so in the future (Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory). Plus, there are a ton of financial incentives available that can help make the cost of going solar more manageable. Many states offer tax credits and rebates for residential solar energy systems, and there are also financing options available that allow you to pay for your solar panels over time (Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency). In 2022, a the Inflation Reduction Act passed which increased the Federal solar incentive to 30%! This combined with State incentives could leave you with only half of the price of the system.

But let’s be real: even if solar panels were completely free, some people still might not want them because they’re worried about how they’ll look on their roof. I get it – nobody wants to ruin the aesthetic of their home with a bunch of clunky, unsightly panels. Fortunately, at Solar Works, we not only install the sleekest most compact panels, we install your panels with your homes aesthetic in mind, so you can have the efficiency and cost-savings of solar, while keeping the aesthetic integrity of your home.

Solar reliability

Finally, let’s address the concern about reliability. Solar energy is often seen as an unreliable source of electricity, but that’s just not true. Solar energy systems can be designed to provide a reliable source of electricity, even when the sun is not shining. By incorporating battery storage into a solar energy system, excess electricity can be stored for use during times when the sun is not shining (Source: EnergySage). And with the advancements being made in battery technology, it’s becoming increasingly possible to rely solely on solar energy as a primary source of electricity (Source: Department of Energy).

In some areas such as New Mexico, there are flat-roof homes, which are often optimized for solar. If you have a flat-roof home or are interested in learning more about this, check out this blog post.

So, why is solar such a great idea? Well, for starters, it’s renewable and sustainable. Solar energy is produced by harnessing the power of the sun, which is an endless, pollution-free energy source. Going solar also helps to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, which are a finite resource and contribute to air pollution and climate change (Source: Environmental Protection Agency). Plus, solar energy can help to lower your energy bills, as you’ll be generating your own electricity rather than relying on the grid. According to the Department of Energy, the average solar panel system can reduce household electricity costs by 50-90% (Source: Department of Energy).

But the benefits of residential solar energy go beyond just cost savings and environmental sustainability. Solar energy can also increase the value of your home. A study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that homes with solar energy systems sell faster and at a higher price than homes without solar (Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory). So not only will you be saving money on your energy bills, you may also see a return on your investment when it comes time to sell your home.

In conclusion, don’t let common misconceptions about residential solar energy hold you back. Solar panels are effective in all types of climates, require minimal maintenance, and are becoming increasingly affordable. Plus, with so many stylish and visually appealing options available, you can have a solar energy system that not only helps the environment and saves you money, but also enhances the look of your home. Don’t wait any longer to make the switch to solar – start enjoying the numerous benefits it has to offer today.

Your Relationship With PNM Post-Installation

solar panels on home

Why Should I Get Solar Panels?

Because it will put money back in your pocket! Solar panels save you money each month on your electric bill. When you begin to generate energy–right from your very own roof–you can export that energy to the power grid and earn financial credits on your electric bill through a program known as net metering. [1]

Solar energy is great for many reasons. How often are you able to save money while helping the environment and bolstering New Mexico’s economy–all at the same time? Probably not very often, and that’s why solar energy is so great. Solar energy is green and renewable. It allows us to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels and contribute to a cleaner, healthier planet.

Solar energy is attractive to many people because it’s an environmentally conscious and money-saving choice. It’s easy to see why solar energy is increasing in popularity. In fact, New Mexico ranks 8th in the nation in per capita solar capacity. [2] From installation to the manufacturing of solar components, the solar industry provides jobs for New Mexicans and bolsters our local economy.

Solar Energy in New Mexico

In March, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham reinstated the New Mexico Solar Tax Credit after it had expired in 2016. [3] This program provides 10% off the total cost of solar panel installation in the form of income tax credits. If the tax credit exceeds your total taxes owed for the year, it can even be carried over for up to five years! In addition, the New Mexico Solar Tax Credit can be combined with a substantial federal tax credit which provides an additional 30% off the cost of installation. [4]

In addition to all the money you can save on tax credits and incentives, New Mexico law has been very favorable to the solar industry in allowing net-metering–an awesome benefit of solar energy that allows you to “sell” your excess energy that would otherwise go unused back to PNM at the going rate–currently $0.14 per kilowatt hour. [5]

Net Metering with PNM

Once your solar panels are installed, you’ll be producing energy at different rates throughout the day. Net metering ensures that no energy is wasted. If your home produces more energy than you need, that money is put right back into your pocket through credits on your electric bill.

Here’s it works. During the middle of the day, your solar panels will often generate more energy than your home is using. The sun is directly beaming on your panels, and often, family members are out of the house at work or school so energy consumption is low. And here in New Mexico, we are lucky to have a lot of beautiful sunny days!

During the afternoon, the extra energy that your panels produce will be exported to the power grid. It will travel to neighboring areas and provide needed energy. And the best part–your meter will be spinning backward whenever this happens. You’ll be “banking” energy . . . and money!

Usually, you’ll need to use some energy from the power grid at night. When the sun has set and the whole family is home, electricity usage will go up while solar energy is no longer being produced. At this time, your home will pull energy from the grid. But the good news is that your solar panels have already offset a large portion of that cost by soaking up the sun all day long!

PNM Connectivity Fee

In order to obtain the benefits of net metering, your home must be connected to the power grid. You will sign a Utility Interconnection Agreement with PNM, and there is a monthly, flat connectivity fee of around $7.00 to keep your home’s solar panels tied into the power grid. This fee is paid directly to PNM and it’s separate from any payments to Solar Works

After that, the magic of net metering can begin! Any time you add energy to the power grid by producing more than you use, you will be credited by PNM at the going rate which is currently $0.14 per kilowatt-hour. [5] If your home produces more energy than you use in any given month, the money you earn will roll over onto next month’s electricity bill.

Solar Panel Savings

It’s difficult to determine exactly how your electricity bill will change once you are net metering your solar energy. It’s dependent on your own energy usage, the number of solar panels installed, the cost of electricity, and even the weather.

But one thing’s for sure–you will save money. PNM’s energy rates have been gradually rising. Over the past six years, they rose 12%. Without solar, your electricity bill is only going in one direction–and that’s up. The average monthly utility bill nationwide is $110. With Solar Works, customers paid an average of $10.51 per month!

How Can I Afford the Cost of Installation?

Many customers worry about the up-front cost of installing solar panels. They are right, it’s a big investment, but the many state and federal tax credits and incentives make it a lot more affordable than many people would assume.

Let’s use an example. The cost of solar panel installation for an average home in New Mexico is around $17,000 [2]. But the NM Solar Tax Credit saves you 10% of that cost ($1,700) [3]. The Federal Tax credit can be used as well, and it saves you 30% of the total cost ($4,420) [4]. This decreases the out-of-pocket amount to $10,880. There are often other state and federal incentives that will lower the price even more.

And there are other financing options as well! You can finance your solar panels with no money upfront. Solar Works will walk you through your options and help you pick the best option for you. The average monthly payment for solar panels ranges from $60-100. This is substantially lower than most monthly electricity bills, so you’ll begin saving money right away.

Savings Over the Lifespan of Your Home

When considering solar, remember that the savings pile up over months and years. Based on national averages, let’s assume that you save $100 a month on your electricity bill [6]. In a year, you’d save $1,200. And over the course of 25 years (which is the length of time many people live in their family home), you would save $30,000! This offsets your installation costs and leaves you with massive savings.

Many solar calculators estimate savings in the $20,000 to $30,000 range over the 25 years–and that’s even after you subtract the cost of your solar panel installation. [7] A pretty great deal, especially when you’ve helped the planet at the same time. It saves you money, helps the environment, and strengthens New Mexico’s economy–there’s a long list of reasons to love solar.

References:

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Top 5 reasons solar panels are perfect for flat-roof homes

Adobe stucco homes are extremely common in Albuquerque, NM because of how energy efficient they are in the dry climate. If you have been worrying that solar panels won’t work for your home because of your flat roof, think again! Here are 5 reasons, solar panels are perfect for flat-roof homes.

Can you install solar panels on a flat roof?

Absolutely. There are roof requirements for solar panels, but needing a sloped rooftop is not one of them. The flat roof will actually work to your advantage for these 5 reasons:

1. You get to save money on installation costs

With flat-roof homes, there is no steep roof to work around, no special equipment needs to be factored into the labor and installation costs.  At Solar Works Energy, we use a no-puncture method with flat-roof homes.

2. Your roof is protected

Typically, solar panels will need to be installed on a sloped roof using a penetration mount, which requires holes to be drilled into the rooftop. However, with a flat roof, this is not necessary as you will be using a no drill solar mount method. Instead, a ballast system will be used, requiring weighted structures to hold the panels in place. 

Additionally, the areas of your roof that are covered by the solar panels will be the most protected. They will serve as a barrier against weather conditions and other potentially damaging influences. 

3. Flat roofs allow you to choose what direction to point solar panels

With pitched roof homes, you have limitations with which direction you can point your panels. Since you are not limited by the direction your home faces with a flat roof, you have much more flexibility when determining what would be the best orientation for solar panels. 

4. The production of electricity is maximized

It is advised to have your solar panels facing south to generate the most power if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. Because your flat roof gives you the freedom to find the best solar panel placement, you get to reap the benefits of a better-performing system.  

5. You will increase the resale value of your home

If you plan to sell your home in the next decade, you will draw potential buyers in with the lower energy bills they will have due to the already installed solar panels. You also don’t have to worry about someone not being a fan of how they look from the street as there will be minimal solar panel visibility with a flat roof. 

New Mexico solar installers

If you have a flat roof home, you are in luck. You have more flexible options and get the benefit of a smoother, cheaper install. Adding solar panels to your already energy efficient adobe home will only increase your savings and contribution to bettering the environment. If you are ready to take that next step, take our 30-second survey to see if you qualify!

Your Net Metering Questions Answered

How Much Money Will I Save by Going Solar?

After solar panels are installed, one of the first questions that customers usually ask is: “How much money will I save each month on my electricity bill?” 

This is a difficult question to answer as it’s dependent on a lot of factors, such as your typical energy usage in your home, the amount of energy your solar panels are generating, the electric company’s current price per kilowatt-hour of electricity, and even the weather.

But you will undoubtedly save money when you begin to generate energy right from the roof of your own home. To understand more about the savings you’ll see on your electricity bill, you’ll need to understand a bit about net metering.

What Is Net Metering of Solar Energy?

Here’s how it works. When your solar panels are installed, your home will be tied in to the power grid. Once connected to the grid, you can export your unneeded energy and the magic of net metering begins.

At certain times of day, your solar panels will be creating a lot of energy–even more than your house is using. This often happens during the midday hours when the sun is directly hitting the panels. All the extra energy that your panels are generating will be exported to the grid and used elsewhere, usually somewhere nearby your home.

And here’s the great part–when that happens, your meter will actually be running backward. You’ll be netting all that energy and the money that it’s worth–after all, your solar panels created it! The current nationwide average cost is $0.15 per kilowatt-hour of electricity, and your electric company will be paying you for that energy.

At other times of the day, your home may need to pull energy from the power grid because your panels are not producing enough. This typically happens during the nighttime when the sun is down or even during the early morning hours when everyone is using electricity to get ready for the day.

During these times, your house will import energy from the grid. But at other times during the day, you have been banking or “netting” your extra energy, so your net electricity bill is very low.

How Will My Electricity Bill Change?

It’s difficult to predict the exact amount of money that you’ll save with net metering because it depends on how much energy you use in your home. But there’s no doubt about it–you will save money. 

For example, the average monthly electricity bill is $122 nationwide. That’s $1,464 per year spent on electricity. With Solar Works, the average customer paid $10.51 per month, saving approximately $1,338 per year on their electricity bill!

Additionally, energy prices have been steadily rising nationwide. In the four year period from 2020 to 2024, the EIA estimates the cost of energy will increase by 16%. Without solar energy, your electricity bill will only be moving in one direction–and that’s up.

With net metering, your solar energy is never wasted. Instead, it’s credited to your account at the going price (currently $0.15 per kilowatt-hour nationwide). It’s possible to offset all or a large portion of your electric bill. If your solar panels provide more energy than you typically consume, you’ll end up with excess energy–and money–at the end of the month. That money will roll over to your next electricity bill, so the money that your solar panels are earning will never go to waste.

What Are the Other Advantages of Net Metering?

Net metering is good for the economy and for the environment. How often are you able to save money and help the environment at the same time? Probably not very often. But with net metering, that’s exactly what you are doing. Net metering of your solar energy is a win for your pocketbook. But it’s also a win for the environment.

It’s efficient and practical, allowing your excess energy to be used nearby where it’s needed. Because net metering puts money right back into the customer’s pocket, it’s made solar energy an appealing option to many homeowners–and solar is becoming more and more popular.

The increase in solar energy production allows us to rely less heavily on fossil fuels and replace them with a clean, renewable energy source. With solar, you reduce your carbon footprint and invest in an industry that makes our planet a healthier place.

Is Now a Good Time to Invest in Solar Panels?

Now is the best time to go solar because of the many state and federal incentives, such as the 10% state tax rebate and the 30% federal tax rebate. The government wants solar energy to appeal to homeowners–so there are currently many programs and incentives to motivate homeowners to install solar panels. But as solar energy becomes more and more widespread, some of these incentives may disappear.

For example, many states have laws that allow for net metering which has an enormous benefit to the homeowner as they sell their energy back to the electric companies. But as electric companies transition to solar energy in greater and greater capacities, they will have decreased need to “buy” energy from the solar panels on your home.

With a decreased need for residential solar energy, electric companies in some states have begun to reduce or limit their net metering programs. For example, instead of offering homeowners the full price per kilowatt hour for their energy, they may only offer half or three-fourths of the going rate of that energy. But, if you install solar panels now, you will keep getting paid the full price per kilowatt hour due to a grandfather clause that enables you to lock in that better price.

The bottom line: solar energy saves you money and makes our planet healthier. State and federal incentives such as tax rebates and net metering will save you thousands of dollars, but they may not be around forever. If you are considering solar, the best time to install solar panels is NOW.

Why Power Your Chicken Coop and Home With Solar?

There’s no denying chicken coops have been around for centuries. But as technology progresses, why not make our lives easier? Just one 200w chicken coop heater uses roughly 144kwh of electricity a month. This equates to only 1-2 extra panels on your home install, depending on the size of your coop. In this article, we will be breaking down why it makes sense to power your chicken coop and home with solar.

Why not keep your energy costs low?

The average homeowner saves over $1,700 a year on their electric bill when switching to solar. Even better, there are federal incentives that pay you back 26% of your solar system, greatly reducing your bill. Some states, including Utah, and New Mexico offer state rebates for solar as well. These tax credits end up being up to $6,000 back in your pocket! Combine that with the federal incentives and you see up to $20,000 in combined incentives! All the more reason to power your chicken coop and home with solar!

chicken coop image

Do YOU Qualify for chicken coop solar?

Today, solar is without a doubt available in your market. Whether you’re still figuring out how to build a chicken coop or you are a veteran just looking to get some new tips on how to clean your chicken coop, solar is here for you and can make the process easier. At Solar Works we serve New Mexico, Utah, and Texas. If you are looking for solar and you live in a different state, that’s ok! Fill out this form and we will get you matched with a top-quality solar company in your area.

Are you a big do-it-yourself person? Solar is perfect for those of us with DIY tendencies. Even if you are in the early stages looking up a frame plan for your chicken coop, you can get the process started. Contact us for a free solar quote! There is nothing more satisfying than being self-sustaining. Solar panels are your ticket to ultimate sustainability. Use solar to reduce the cost of your chicken coop by installing solar panels on your home. This is a fantastic way to increase the productivity of your DIY chicken coop. Trust us, your chickens will thank you later!

Ready to find out how much you can save?