Best Solar Panel Installation Companies in New Mexico – CNET

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Sunshine is abundant in New Mexico. Why not harness its power with solar panels?

Electricity is affordable in New Mexico — at less than 14 cents per kilowatt-hour in June 2023 — but energy prices are unpredictable. Solar panels can give you consistency in your energy bills, if you have a bill at all, and they can provide you with energy independence in the event of blackouts.  

There are solid state-level incentives to encourage your solar switch, as well. The state also has its own tax credit on top of the big, newly expanded federal tax credit for going solar. So on top of 30% of the cost back from the federal government, you can also get 10%, up to $6,000, back on your state taxes. Solar panels may be costly, but you’ll be exempt from sales and property taxes associated with your purchase. The Land of Enchantment also has a fair net metering policy for exchanging excess energy with the grid.

Here’s what you should know before going solar in New Mexico — starting with the best solar panel installation companies operating within the state.

New Mexico solar panel companies 

Palmetto Solar

Best overall

Solar panels are typically low maintenance equipment, but they’re also unfamiliar. If you want to reap the benefits of solar but will have a bit more peace of mind if someone else is making sure it’s working, Palmetto might be a good fit for you. Just remember to add the cost of Palmetto’s monitoring service in to your payback period calculations.

SunPower Solar

Best solar panels

If you’re looking for top-of-the-line solar panels, SunPower is your best choice. But don’t write it off if you’re looking for a less flashy installation that will get the job done. This year it started installing Qcells panels, which should make an installation from the longest-tenured company on our list available to more people.

Freedom Forever

Best for cash customers

Include Freedom Forever in your search if you want the backing of a national company that installs a wide variety of the most popular solar equipment available. Freedom Forever also extends a couple of products that take some of the pain and risk out of going solar, like a production guarantee and an escrow option with cash purchases. Online reviews say customer satisfaction has been low of late, though the company says that’s changing.

Tesla Solar

Most affordable

Tesla’s solar branch seems to be the least loved of Elon Musk’s ventures. Even Tesla’s Solar Roof seems to get more love.

If price is the thing you won’t budge on, consider Tesla. By all accounts, Tesla installs quality panels and makes the closest thing there is to a household name in solar storage: the Powerwall.

Where you might miss out is customer service. Discussion online seems to suggest Tesla’s service is a bit of a gamble.

Local solar companies in New Mexico

Positive Energy Solar is a local New Mexico-based solar installation company with locations in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. It has offered sustainable energy services since 1997, including home solar panels, battery storage options and electric vehicle chargers. With Positive Energy Solar, you can purchase your solar panels upfront or finance them with a solar loan. 

One of the most significant stand-out features Positive Energy Solar offers is its lengthy warranty terms. It offers a 25-year warranty covering products, power and quality of work, as well as a 30-year extended insurance warranty covering mechanical and electrical failures. Positive Energy Solar states they remain the point of contact for any warranty issues their customers experience, so you won’t have to contact or coordinate with the product manufacturer. The company offers widely used solar products from companies with a track record of reliability, like REC, Q Cells and Tesla.

How to determine which solar company in New Mexico is best for me

There are 45 solar installers operating throughout New Mexico, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Finding the right solar installer for your home is essential because different installers offer a variety of solar products, warranty terms and prices. 

While we’ve compiled a list of solar panel installers that stand out in the solar industry, this list should not replace your own research, although it can be a starting point as you navigate the installer options in New Mexico.

Most importantly, get quotes from a variety of companies and compare them not just on price but also on customer service, reputation, equipment and how well each system meets your needs. Solar panel systems are highly individualized to your home, so finding the right installer might take some research.

Cost of solar panels in New Mexico

Here’s a look at the average cash price for a typical solar panel system in New Mexico before factoring in tax credits and incentives, according to data from

Average cost of solar panels in New Mexico

Typical system size (kW) Price per watt Total installed cost Cost after 30% federal tax credit
New Mexico 5 $3.93 $19,650 $13,755
National average 8.6 $3.67 $31,558 $22,091

Shown below are the average total cash price, cost per watt and system sizes for solar panel systems across the United States, according to data from These prices don’t factor in rebates or earnings from tax credits or state incentives. Certain states don’t have any FindEnergy solar data and are grayed out on the map.

New Mexico solar panel incentives or rebates

While the average cost per watt for solar panels in New Mexico is slightly higher than the national average, there are several tax credits and incentives at the federal, state and local levels to help make solar more affordable. 

The residential clean energy credit is a federal solar tax incentive that credits 30% of the cost of your solar system to you on your yearly tax return. This tax credit was extended and increased in August 2022 when the Inflation Reduction Act was passed. There is no cap on the residential clean energy credit, meaning you can claim the complete 30% regardless of the size or price of your system. You can apply for the residential clean energy credit by filling out IRS form 5695 (PDF) and following instructions on completing the form.

There are also several other state and local solar incentives in New Mexico. Here are a few incentives you should know.

New Mexico solar incentives

Program Description
Net metering Consumers who own solar panels can register for net metering in New Mexico. Through net metering programs, you can send excess solar power to the grid in exchange for credits on energy bills.
New Solar Market Development Tax Credit Residences with solar panels installed receive a 10% personal income tax credit capped at $6,000. Both grid-tied and off-grid residential solar systems qualify for this state tax credit.
Sales tax exemption Your solar system will be exempt from any state sales tax.
Property Tax Exemption New Mexico exempts residential solar panels from property tax assessments, so your property taxes won’t increase when you install solar panels.
Sustainable Building Tax Credit Single-family and multi-family homes certified as sustainable will qualify for a tax credit. Residences are considered sustainable when they have certain renewable technologies, like solar panels, wind turbines or electric vehicles.
New Mexico landscape. New Mexico landscape.

That big bright sky signals you might generate a lot of electricity with solar panels.

Tetra Images/Getty Images

Read more: Want something smaller than a whole-home solar system? See our picks for the best portable solar panels and solar generators.

How to pay for solar panels in New Mexico

If you are considering solar panels for your home, a few financing options are available to make the purchase more affordable. You can purchase your solar panels upfront with cash or finance them with a solar loan or a personal loan.

Solar leases and power purchase agreements are also available in New Mexico. These options let you power your home with solar energy without paying the upfront cost of owning the system. However, you won’t qualify for most state and federal tax incentives with a solar lease, and the energy savings will be lower over time.

Here are the pros and cons to each financing method for your solar panel purchase:

Cash: Purchasing your solar panel system upfront is easiest way to start earning savings, because you’ll have no fees or payments to make. It’s just not going to be a feasible option for most people, as solar panel systems are a sizable investment. If you can pay with cash, however, it’s a great way to lower your solar payback period.

Solar loan: Your chosen solar installation company might have a relationship with a local financial institution for the purposes of setting customers up with a solar loan. A solar loan is a loan specifically designed for solar panel installation, but you’ll still want to look at different loans and associated interest rates before locking in the most favorable deal you can.

Power purchase agreement: Much like leasing solar panels, power purchase agreements are a contract where you won’t own the solar panel system on your home. Instead, you’ll get a free installation and the solar company will own the solar panels. From there, you pay the company per kilowatt-hour of energy usage. The company also gains any rebates or financial incentives offered for solar panel installation. The one benefit of a PPA is that your energy bill could be a lot lower than if you were depending on your local utilities.

HELOC/Home equity loan: Both a home equity line of credit and a home equity loan are ways to leverage collateral to get a loan for your solar panel system. If you fail to pay these back on time, though, it could cost you your home, so it’s important to understand the financial responsibility you’re taking on before locking one of these in.

Installation factors to keep in mind

Purchasing solar panels or signing a solar lease agreement is a big decision, so it’s important to consider whether solar is the right choice for your home. In addition to thoroughly researching your area’s installers, consider these factors. Among other differences, some solar panels are more efficient than others.

The age and condition of your roof. Your roof’s size, shape and slope will affect your solar panels’ production. The Department of Energy says solar panels produce the most energy on roofs with a slope between 15 and 40 degrees. You should also consider the age and condition of your roof to determine whether your roof needs to be maintained or replaced before installing solar panels.

Your neighborhood regulations. New Mexico’s solar rights law prevents homeowners’ associations from banning solar panels. However, specific requirements in your neighborhood may impact the design and placement of your solar system. Check your neighborhood’s rules before installing solar panels.

Where you live. On average, New Mexico experiences 278 sunny days per year, about 35% more than the US average. The more sunny days, the more electricity solar panels can generate. With estimates of your solar array size and energy consumption, you can estimate how much you’ll save given how many hours of sunlight your roof receives. Before signing a contract with a solar installer, monitor how many hours of sunlight your roof receives.

Your insurance plan. After installing solar panels, you’ll want to update your homeowner’s insurance to include the panels in your policy. Most standard homeowner’s policies cover rooftop solar panels without needing a separate plan, but check with your insurance agency for details. 

Renting your home. If you rent a home or live in a multi-family home, you may not be able to install solar panels on your roof. Check with your landlord or rental management company to find out. If you aren’t allowed to install solar panels, you may be able to benefit from community solar programs in the near future. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Community Solar Act into law in April 2021, creating a statewide community solar pilot program. The next steps are expected in March 2023, when community solar project awards are announced. By enrolling in a community solar program, renters can subscribe to solar power produced in another location and receive credit on energy bills. The monthly fee you pay for the subscription is set at a lower rate than the value of the bill credits, so you end up paying less than you usually would for energy.

How we found the best solar companies

Our Methodology

The companies we listed above as “the best” are curated from CNET’s best solar companies list. Companies making the best list are scored on the equipment, warranties and customer service they offer. Then, we make sure these recommendations are available in your state. You can read a full breakdown of how we review solar companies here.

Companies listed under the local installers were chosen in a less rigorous way. We chose them because they offered something unique or notable to customers in the state, they seemed well-regarded by internet reviewers or because they were one of the few installers we could find information on in the state.

Whether we’ve completed a full review on a company or not, it’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different installers before choosing a company.

New Mexico solar power FAQs

Are solar panels worth it in New Mexico?

Yes, solar panels can be a great investment if you live in New Mexico. With a high number of annual sunny days and a variety of solar incentives at the federal and state level, solar panels tend to perform well in New Mexico. Be sure to consider the installation factors we listed above to determine whether your home and living situation are a good fit for solar panels before signing a contract.

How many solar panels would I need in New Mexico?

The average solar system includes 20 to 25 solar panels. However, the number of solar panel modules depends on several factors, including your budget and energy consumption habits. You should also consider whether you want your solar system to cover your energy usage completely, or if the panels only need to cover a portion. The more energy you want your system to produce, the more solar panels your system will need.

How can I find a good New Mexico solar installer?

Choosing the right solar installer can feel overwhelming given the growing number of options. Read customer reviews, ask for recommendations and get multiple quotes from different installers. You can review CNET’s choices for top solar companies as a starting point.

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