ALBUQUERQUE — As New Mexico moves towards 100 percent clean energy and on the heels of California becoming the first state to require all new houses be built with solar panels, Environment New Mexico is embarking on a new campaign that calls for a similar solar mandate in New Mexico.
“In order for New Mexico to be a leader on clean, renewable energy, change can and must start at home,” said Environment New Mexico Director John Ammondson. “Americans have made it clear that they want solar power, and by creating a direct path for every new home to include this essential resource, New Mexico will make a big contribution toward combating climate change and making our state healthier and cleaner.”
Nearly half of American homeowners have seriously thought about putting solar panels on their home and almost nine out of 10 Americans favor expanding solar power, according to the Pew Research Center.
In the February 2020 legislative session, New Mexico resuscitated a tax credit for solar installation that will allow more homeowners to take advantage of rooftop solar’s benefits, reducing carbon emissions while lowering energy bills. As installation costs for rooftop solar are often cheapest when homes are first being built, requiring solar on new homes will bring these benefits to all new homeowners and take advantage of New Mexico’s enormous solar energy potential.
Environment New Mexico’s effort is part of a growing movement. In January, California began serving as an example of what building all new homes with solar power can look like. The implementation of the solar homes rule will help increase that state’s existing solar capacity by 22 percent by 2045. Now, along with New Mexico, efforts are underway in six other states, including Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, Texas, Nevada, and North Carolina to include solar power in the construction of all new homes.
Implementing this solar installation would be a game changer. Doing so nationwide from 2020 to 2026 would result in more solar energy capacity than the entire U.S. currently has installed. In addition, a solar homes requirement would cut an estimated 161 million metric tons of climate-damaging carbon dioxide in 2045. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 34 million of today’s cars off of the road.
“Solar power is supported by a majority of Americans and building all new homes with solar panels is achievable,” Ammondson said. “We cannot miss the opportunity to generate the renewable energy that comes with powering every new home with solar. The most efficient time to install solar panels is when workers are already on the roof, and by making homes solar, it will lead to healthier and safer communities for years to come.”