Solar Installation in All Electric Home Instantly Lowers Electric Bill
“We purchased a 10 kW (48 panel) PV solar system from Go Solar in Santa Fe. From our initial discussions at their office to the final inspection by PNM, we have been impressed by their helpful professionalism, technical excellence and enthusiastic dedication. Once approvals were obtained, the system was installed and brought on-line within a ten-day period. The Go Solar crew possesses every imaginable tool to deal with any contingency and to correctly site the system. The system is erected solidly and constructed from well-engineered components. The system is functioning as designed and the meter is running backwards. We highly recommend contracting with Go Solar.
Alexandra Heath and Steve White, 505-466-7962
More and more New Mexico homeowners are discovering the benefits of solar energy. As the second sunniest state, New Mexico is one of the best hot spots in the world for solar radiation. In fact, hundreds of years ago, the Anasazi Indians took advantage of the heat they could get from the sun by building their cliff dwellings to maximize the sun’s energy in the winter and minimize it in the summer. Modern New Mexicans are also using solar energy to make their homes comfortable without the use of outside energy sources and saving money in the process.
Alexandra Heath and Steve White live in a 3,200 square-foot home built in 1972 as a gold medallion all-electric home with electric baseboard heat throughout, electric kitchen appliances, and a heat array in the driveway to melt snow, disabled many years ago. Over time, however, as electricity costs increased, their winter electric bills began to approach $1,000 per month. Even when they turned the thermostat down to a chilly 62-65 degrees and wore heavy sweaters, their monthly bill was almost $800.
In the spring of 2013, they considered converting to natural gas but discovered that the house was not built to accommodate the necessary ductwork. Alexandra and Steve felt that the cost of about $25,000 along with the resulting construction issues to add 7 heating zones were too high for the result. They would also have had to pay for the gas used over the years.
One day, they saw the solar array at Go Solar in the El Dorado Agora and stopped by to talk. “We were thrilled to discover that we could convert to solar energy with no inside construction and no damage to the environment. The federal and state tax credits also helped us make a decision,” said Steve. “We like the fact that solar energy does not rely on any foreign oil or gas and has no impact on the environment.’
Go Solar estimated that a 48-panel solar installation would supply all the home’s energy requirements. The $71,280 cost would be offset 40% by the tax credits, bringing the after-tax cost to $42,270. Go Solar handled all the permitting and after about 6 weeks, everything was ready for installation, which only took five days. The installation is barely visible behind the house and is surrounded by low bushes, shielding the panels from the neighbors. “We had to remove a few juniper trees to fit everything in but since I’m allergic to them I didn’t mind and we were able to replant some of them elsewhere on our property,” said Alexandra. “All summer our dogs used their new resting place in the shade under the panels.”
The solar panels generate a consistent amount of energy to provide about 73% of the total amount of energy they need throughout the year. They are connected directly to the PNM grid and any unused electricity due to seasonal fluctuations flows into the grid to be used by surrounding homes. Since the system was installed in July 2013, PNM has sent Alexandra and Steve a monthly check for about $70. They expect their energy usage to fluctuate in the fall and they may need to pay for electricity during the coldest months of the year but the solar system should greatly reduce their electric bill while allowing them to raise the thermostat to a balmy 68 degrees in the winter.
“This was the best decision we could have made,” said Alexandra. “Instead of spending thousands of dollars each year on higher and higher electricity bills, we will get checks from PNM for eight years, and we will generate our own electricity. Our solar installation will make it easier to sell our house someday. We love having an independent source of energy that doesn’t hit us in the pocketbook.”