Legislation would reinstate a 10% tax credit for residential, commercial, and agricultural solar energy installations.
For Immediate Release: February 6, 2018
Contact: Chris Nordstrum (415) 601-1992
(Santa Fe) Yesterday afternoon the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee voted a do-pass on SB79, the Solar Market Development Tax Credit, sponsored by Senator Mimi Stewart (D-17-Bernalillo). If enacted into law, the measure would reinstate a former tax credit that expired in 2016.
Solar continues to be a growing industry in New Mexico, but many have expressed concern that the 30% tariff recently imposed by the Trump administration on solar imports will not only increase the cost of solar installations, but could also reverse the positive industry growth and lead to job loss statewide. Reviving the tax credit is one way to help offset the negative impacts of the tariff.
The benefits associated with an increase in solar adoption are manifold. There are currently 76 solar companies in New Mexico, employing close to 3000 people in the industry statewide. And according to the University of Massachusetts, for every $1 million invested in solar energy, 14 jobs are created. Falling installation prices have made the purchase of solar solutions attainable by an increasing number of households, translating into lower energy bills for many New Mexican families.
“New Mexico should be at the forefront of the renewable energy sector,” says Senator Stewart. “My constituents believe this, the general public supports the idea, and it is time we in the legislature get behind measures that help make it happen. It’s good for the environment, it’s a job creator, and it just makes sense to do in a state that benefits from an abundance of sunshine.”
The bill has strong support from business leaders and advocates.
“It’s critical that we reinstate the solar tax credit to help make clean, renewable energy more affordable for more New Mexican families, and even more so as the Trump administration attacks solar energy by adding a 30% tariff to imported solar panels,” says Ben Shelton, Legislative Director for Conservation Voters New Mexico, an environmental advocacy organization with 12,000 members statewide.. “Solar energy benefits New Mexicans in many ways, including reducing air and water pollution to the benefit of public health, and it creates jobs. We applaud the Corporations committee for acting to protect our local businesses here in the renewable energy industry.”
“Rooftop solar is decreasing energy costs for working class New Mexicans, and increasing their property values. We’re the second sunniest state in the union so the return on investment is extremely high. The state tax credit not only creates local jobs but it also helps New Mexicans lower the cost of their energy and increase the equity in their homes,” says Regina Wheeler, CEO at Sunpower.
“Solar is one of the few areas where the New Mexico economy has been growing, and this credit will help keep that positive momentum going,” says Sanders Moore, Director at Environment New Mexico. Moore continues, “And it’s good for the entire state, as there’s not a single area that doesn’t get sun. We should be taking advantage of the resources we have, and we should become a national leader in solar energy.”
Previous attempts at similar legislation have been vetoed by the Governor in recent years, with little or no explanation given as to why.
SB79 now heads to the Senate Finance Committee.