An Overview of Solar Panel Energy Opportunities in Las Cruces, NM

 

 

La Cruces, the city of crosses, had a metropolitan population of 213,676 in 2014. This puts it at the second spot among the most populous cities in the state of New Mexico, right behind Albuquerque.  It is the second largest city in the whole New Mexico and the largest city in the southern New Mexico.

 

Las cruces is a city stretching over 76.6 square miles with more than 99 percent of it made by land and only 0.18% by water bodies. The landscape consists of mountains and desert.

 

Solar Panels Price New Mexico Graph

 

Las cruces gets 294 sunny days annually in comparison to the U.S average of 205 days. Also, the average rainfall is 10.6 inches compared to the U.S average of 39.2 inches. This mean, the city has a semi-arid climate with a lot of sunshine throughout the year. These features make it an ideal place for the installation of solar panels in Las Cruces.

 

The Practical Utility of Solar Panels Las Cruces and The Swanson’s Effect (Infographic Above)

 

The biggest fear surrounding the use of solar power is the expense related to buying the panels and installing them. But the solar power is really not that expensive as you might think.

 

You might be amazed to know that the cost of the solar power is decreasing, rather quickly. In fact, the cost of Las Cruces solar panels has decreased by 67% from 2008 to 2012. That is because of an effect called the Swanson’s effect. This effect is based on a law called the Swanson’s law. The law states that more the competition in the development and sales of a product, lower are its prices.

 

The solar power is indeed a great example of how this law works. With the global tycoons like Space X and Tesla investing heavily into the research, development, and sales of solar power, the solar power has become more accessible and affordable.

 

Another reason why going for solar panels is a great financial decision is a decrease in the overall environmental cost of solar energy. According to research, the energy generated through coal is much more expense than you might expect. That’s because of the substantial environmental and healthcare damage coal inflicts. That’s the ‘collateral or unseen price’ of coal energy that we are paying without evening realizing. According to some estimates, coal energy is costing us as much as $90/MWh to $270/MWh.

 

Finally, we are running out of fossil fuel. Sooner or later all the oil fields in the world are going to run dry. It sounds absurd to be investing into something that is eventually going to fall apart. Why not invest into something that is going to stay with us almost forever. That’s the beauty of solar power! With the exception of few rainy days, solar power represents an endless supply of energy which is going to remain at our disposal for as long as the sun is shining in the sky.

 

Comparing the Return on Investment (ROI) for Las Cruces Panels

 

New Mexico Comparison Graph

 

A 5 kWh solar power panel costs around $20,000. The mention of this price alone is enough to make your jaw drop but let us explain why it is not as bad as it looks.

 

First, you have a lot of options to choose from for solar panels Las Cruces. You can either pay cash or get your solar panels on loan or lease.

 

Second, you can get up to 30% tax credit as per Federal tax law if you are paying for the product outright or getting it on loan. You don’t get that tax credit on getting the product on a lease. You better get your panels before 2020 because after that the tax credit is going to decrease considerably.

 

Finally, even if you invest in a solar panel, it does not mean that your investment is going down the drain. You are actually investing into your house and the value of your real estate will see a considerable boost after the installation of a solar panel. So if you have a 5 kWh plan worth $20,000 installed and you decide to sell your home, you can demand the $20,000 on your house’s equity without having to pay a single penny extra property tax. This is based on the Renewable Energy Systems Property Tax Exemption.

 

When it comes to the ROI, the different methods of getting solar panels have their own sets of pros and cons. You can pay for the panels upright, which may go hard on your pocket initially. But in the longer run, the savings you make on your bills will not only make up for the money you have spent but the electricity you sell to the grid will add to your revenues as well.

 

Comparing cash with the options like lease and loan, the loan is another option. Although you get a good overall return but the return is inconsistent. Same goes for leasing where you get a good return but you don’t get to enjoy the additional perks as you do in the case of buying the product.

 

Las Cruces Solar Panels – Purchasing With Cash

 

New Mexico_purchase_graph

 

When you spend a seemingly huge sum of money on buying solar panels, you get to enjoy a lot of owner benefits as well. For instance, you get to have 30% tax breaks on the product you buy. Also, the initial spending may sound a little extravagant but look at things in the longer run. In 25 years, not only the solar panels pay for their price but they also give you reasonable revenue when you start selling the additional electricity to the grid.

 

Not to mention, anything you spend on solar panels actually tends to improve the overall worth of your real estate. A house with a solar panel will sell far better than a house that does not have that feature.

 

Leasing Solar Panels in Las Cruces, New Mexico

 

New Mexico_lease_graph

 

The biggest advantage of this method of payment is that you don’t have to pay anything upfront. All you are expected to do is pay a fixed amount per month for a period of a couple of years, which turns out to be 20 years in total. Though small, you start saving as much as $136 per year.

 

But you should keep in mind the drawbacks of this method of payment as well. The returns don’t sound super-promising. Also, you don’t get to enjoy the federal or state tax breaks. Finally, when on a lease, you are not allowed to sell the extra electricity your unit produces to the grid.

 

Also, you won’t be able to sell any surplus electricity generated by your solar power system.

 

Geting Solar Panels in Las Cruces Using Loans

 

New Mexico_loan_graph

 

 

The biggest problem with this method of payment is that the return is not consistent. You start great when you get a lot of return on your investments. But there comes a time when things go south and you are spending more than you’re actually saving. Finally, there comes a time when you’re saving again. The reason for this trend lies in the fact that in the initial few years, you are actually paying off the interest. The profit you make easily makes up for the amount you spend. But in the later years, when you are paying off the principal payment, you have to spend more than you earn.

 

Still, with this method of payment you get to enjoy the rights of ownership, get a good overall return, and you are able to sell the extra electricity your unit generates to the grid.

 

Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) For Las Cruces, NM

 

renewable-portfolio-standard-legislation

 

Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) shows how committed a government is in reducing the use of fossil fuel by promoting solar energy. A state with higher RPS score means that the state provides reasonable incentives for encouraging people to invest in the solar power.

 

When it comes to New Mexico, its RPS is one of the best among the U.S. In fact, the RPS of New Mexico lies among the top 10 U.S states. The state of New Mexico is committed to getting 30% of its electricity from clean sources by 2020 and 20% of that energy would be coming from the solar energy.

 

How Las Cruces Compares

 

The state of New Mexico is among the sunniest states of the United States. You can generate a lot of energy using a simple 5 kWh plant throughout the year. Also, the state gives reasonable incentives to encourage people to invest in this method of energy.

 

However, the state does not have a rebate program. Also, the state’s electricity cost is much lower than that in the other states making people think twice before they go for solar energy.

 

Additional considerations:

 

Going for the solar power means you are getting a lot of free energy that is totally at your disposal. Also, when the sun is not out, you can still manage to gather enough energy by using water-based systems and batteries.

 

Report Card Rating For NW Solar:

 

New Mexico Solar Report Card

 

Overall, the city has an A rating. Although the incentives are good and ample natural resources are present, lack of rebate program and lower cost of electricity in the region might make this system of energy generation less lucrative.