New Mexico has the potential to be one of the most solar power-rich areas in the U.S., and PNM is doing our part to build major solar centers and support customer-owned solar energy.
PNM has invested almost $270 million to install more than one million solar panels at 15 different solar sites to provide clean energy for New Mexico. We have interconnected more than 5,900 customer-owned solar systems to the grid, while continuing to provide reliable power to their homes when the sun doesn’t shine. We’ve also made almost $31 million in renewable energy credit payments to these early adopters of solar since 2007.
For nearly a decade, PNM has supported New Mexico by investing in programs designed to help our state grow its use of solar energy, benefiting both the environment and all of our customers. With solar panel prices dropping to historic lows, large-scale solar projects, like our four new community-scale solar centers being built in New Mexico this year, are now more economical than ever.
Lower prices for solar panels are also driving more investment by customers in solar panels. PNM is committed to supporting our customers who want to generate their own power from solar and will continue to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates from them. We will also continue to maintain and enhance our electric system so these customers can reliably obtain power when sun is not shining. But we must continue our support in ways that treat all customers – those with and without solar systems – fairly.
How Does PNM Support Customers’ Choices?
For nearly a decade, PNM has supported customer-owned solar generation, driving solar industry growth in New Mexico and enabling customers to choose to generate their own energy.
Through PNM programs, we continue to help customers save money and support their commitment to renewable energy.
Storing the Sun’s Power
PNM is also a leader in solar energy research and development. The company’s Prosperity Energy Storage Project, a partnership with the University of New Mexico, Sandia National Laboratories, Northern New Mexico College, and East Penn manufacturing is the nation’s first solar energy storage facility to be integrated into a working electric grid. It features one of the largest combinations of battery storage and photovoltaic energy in the U.S.
What Does It Cost?
Today, it costs PNM approximately seven cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to produce solar power.
This is the wholesale power price and does not include the company’s costs for operating the system and other activities required to deliver solar power safely and reliably.
Because sunlight is not always available, solar power is only generated at our large-scale facilities about 28 percent of the time. This requires that we have other generation sources available (natural gas, wind energy, coal and nuclear) to back up this intermittent solar resource. This means that the fixed costs of solar power are proportionally higher than for other types of generation.