Jim and Roberta West

Alexandra Heath and Steve White
June 24, 2016
Michael Roach
June 23, 2016

West 01_0Harnessing the Sun to Achieve Energy Independence

“Jim and I are very pleased with the installation of our solar panels. Your professional and friendly manner was appreciated as you answered our questions and explained the entire process of installation. Once we committed and signed the paperwork, the entire project was completed within six weeks. Crystal kept us informed every step of the way regarding the paperwork and Jeremy was a pleasure to have working on the project. You have a good crew.”

Roberta and Jim West

New Mexico has abundant solar resources with 320-340 sunny or partly sunny days a year. In fact, the state has been called a potential solar Saudi Arabia due to the amount of energy that could be generated in the state and used to power the rest of the country. New Mexico’s Renewable Portfolio Standard mandates that 20% of the state’s electricity must come from renewable resources by 2020. More and more households are embracing the benefits of solar energy.

Jim and Roberta West of Santa Fe first considered converting their home to solar energy eight years ago but decided that the costs were too high. When they reevaluated their options in the spring of 2013, they were pleasantly surprised to learn that the costs of solar installations had come down and that they could take advantage of federal and state tax credits as well as renewable energy certificates from PNM to lower the costs even further. “We have always felt that it is a great idea to be energy independent, and the tax breaks helped us make a decision,” said Jim.

West 1The Wests were impressed with how easy it was to work with Go Solar, located in the El Dorado Agora. “They walked us through the entire process so there were no surprises. Then Go Solar handled all the state and county paperwork, permits, inspections, PNM connections, and other items, which took about six weeks. The actual installation of the solar panels took only three days,” said Roberta.

To find the best location for the 18-panel installation, Jim and Les Teterycz, the owner of Go Solar, looked for the least obtrusive location, considering sight lines from neighboring homes. The panels are installed 230 feet away from the house in a field and the sturdy panels, which can’t be harmed by lightening or hail, are only 8 feet high. Drivers on the road rarely notice the panels and none of the neighbors can see them from inside their house. According to Roberta, the neighbors consider the panels “thoughtfully placed.”

West 2Since the panels were installed in July 2013, several neighbors have expressed interest in getting their own installation. “It is kind of fun to have neighbors come up and say that they were thinking of installing solar. We’ve given lots of tours,” exclaimed Roberta. “We especially like the fact that our electricity cost was cut in half in only a few months.” The Wests believe that their solar installation has increased the value of their property.

Because the Wests were on an electricity budget plan with PNM to even out their monthly costs, they have not received any checks as of October 2013 but they expect to start seeing checks as soon as they finish the budget plan year. Since New Mexico receives on average more than 3200 hours of sunshine each year, the Wests’ solar installation will generate electricity every day. They will receive credit for what they don’t use and can draw on that during energy heavy months.

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