Solar Energy
Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be a homeowner to participate in Solarize Santa Fe?

Yes, you have to own your home to participate.

However, New Mexico will be launching the New Mexico Community Solar program this April, which will provide opportunities for renters and all others who may not be able to or want to put solar on their roofs, to save money with solar. You can learn more about the New Mexico Community Solar program here.


Can I put solar on a manufactured home?

Manufactured homes are built according to national HUD building codes, which override state and local codes and make permitting very difficult. However, interested manufactured homeowners should contact us directly () and see if they qualify for the income qualified energy efficiency measures, and we will encourage them to participate in New Mexico’s community solar program, launching later this year. 

How do the Solarize Santa Fe program rebates work?

At the conclusion of this program in May 2023, participants who signed up through Solarize Santa Fe may receive rebates for their installed rooftop solar system. The size of the rebate will depend upon the installer, how many contracts were signed with that same installer, and on the size of the installed solar system. If an installer sells 25-50 systems all participants will receive a rebate, and will receive an even larger rebate if more than 50 systems are sold. Make sure to ask your installer about the size of rebate you might receive if enough homeowners participate. This provides a good incentive to tell your neighbor about the program!

Can I benefit from Federal and State tax credits?

The federal tax credit pays back 30% of the cost of your system and can be claimed over 2 years. The NM state solar tax credit pays back an additional 10% of the cost of your system. These amounts are deducted from the amount of tax you owe (before withholding), so if you do not owe enough taxes, you may not be able to claim the full tax credit. Your solar installer will support you completing the appropriate forms. Consult your tax advisor for complete information applicable to your situation.

How does taking out a loan for my solar system work?

Taking out a solar loan makes putting on a rooftop solar system possible for those who aren’t able to pay for the system up-front. Your solar installer can provide you with estimations of what your cash flow will look like over the life of the solar system with different loans offered by Nusenda and Guadalupe Credit Union. For example, taking out a 15 year loan may allow your monthly loan payments to be less, on average, than your electricity payments were before the solar system was installed.

Our lenders are participating in a program new to New Mexico that is geared at bringing the best loan terms to borrowers for rooftop solar and energy efficiency, even for those with low credit scores. 

How will my electric bill change with a solar installation?

As part of your proposal, your installer will show you how much you can expect to save with your installation. You will earn credit for the solar electricity you generate through a policy called net metering. Net metering allows you to offset your utility electricity consumption with the solar electricity your array produces. When your system generates electricity, that electricity flows into your home or building and is consumed on-site.

When your solar panels produce more electricity than your home or building needs, the excess electricity is sent out to the local grid, where it is consumed by your neighbors. Through net metering, you receive full credit for the excess electricity you feed onto the grid. Once you install solar, your monthly electric bill will be calculated to reflect: the total amount of electricity you consumed minus the total amount of electricity you produced (i.e., the solar electricity you fed onto the grid).

How much will a solar system cost?

The cost of a solar installation will vary based on roof type, the size of the solar system, equipment, and other variables. Our program installers are offering tiered pricing, which means as more households sign up, the cheaper the installed costs. At your request, our program installers will provide you with a quote for the cost of a system.

How does solar power work?

Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells made of silicon. When the sun’s rays hit them, these cells convert sunlight to electricity. Individual cells are wired together to form a solar panel. They are coated in tempered glass, which allows them to withstand harsh weather. The electricity produced by a single solar panel is not enough to power a home or business, so multiple solar panels are needed. The number of panels varies by installation, but every solar system (also called an “array”) will include a series of panels mounted and wired together.

This array may be installed on a roof (“rooftop solar”) or on the ground-level (“ground-mounted solar”). The electricity generated by solar panels takes the form of direct current (DC). However, most appliances and electricity-consuming objects (called “electric load”) require alternating current (AC). To convert the solar electricity from DC to AC, an inverter is needed. Your system will likely use microinverters, connected to each panel, which will convert electricity from DC to AC, for use in your house.

Is my roof a good fit for solar?

The suitability of your roof for solar depends on its orientation, shading, grade, construction materials and condition. If you sign up, Solarize Santa Fe and your installer will provide a free assessment to determine whether your roof is a good fit for solar. It’s best to have any major roof repairs done before a solar installation, as the system may have to be removed and reinstalled if roof repairs are performed during the system’s lifetime. The solar installer will connect you to an appropriate contractor if roof work is needed.

How long does a solar array last?

While solar panels degrade over time, your solar panels will be warrantied to meet appropriate performance standards for at least 25 years, after which they will likely continue producing electricity but at a reduced rate. You may need to replace your inverter after 10 or 15 years.

I live in Santa Fe County. Can I participate in this program?

Unfortunately, Solarize Santa Fe is only for residents of the City of Santa Fe, living within City limits. However, feel free to reach out to both of our installers directly (do not fill out the registration form) for a price quote for a system.