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Cost of Solar Panels in New Mexico

Going Green in New Mexico: The Cost of Solar Panels Installations

Key Details

  • Average cost of solar panels in New Mexico is $2.68/W, with a 7-kW system costing $18,760 (before incentives) or $13,132 after federal tax credit.
  • Choosing between leasing and buying solar panels depends on the financial situation, long-term plans, and pros/cons of each option.
  • Factors affecting the number of solar panels needed include energy consumption, peak sun hours, solar panel efficiency, and budget.
  • Monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film solar panels are common choices for home use in New Mexico.

New Mexico is the country's second sunniest state and one of the most solar-friendly. It records an average of 290 sunshine days per year, making solar energy a viable option. Residents who install solar energy systems may also be eligible for multiple incentives from the state, such as the New Solar Market Development Tax Credit and Sustainable Building Tax Credit(SBTC).

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How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in New Mexico?

The average cost of solar panels in New Mexico is $2.68 per watt, slightly higher than the national average of $2.66. This means the total installation cost for a 7-kilowatt solar panel system is $18,760, (which reduces to $13,132 when the federal tax credit is applied).

In comparison, according to the United States Energy Information Administration, the average retail cost of electricity in the state is 9.79(cents/kwh).

Average Solar Panel Cost in New Mexico

Size Solar Panel Installation Cost System Installation Cost After Solar Credit Home Size
3 kW $8,040 $5,628 < 1,00 sq ft
5 kW $13,400 $9,380 <1,000 sq ft
8 kW $21,440 $15,008 1,100 sq ft
9 kW $24,120 $16,884 1,300 sq. ft.
11 kW $29,480 $20,636 1,700 sq ft
13 kW $34,840 $24,388 2,100 sq ft
14 kW $37,520 $26,264 2,300 sq ft
15 kW $40,200 $28,140 > 2,400 sq ft

Note: Various factors, including the size of the system, the cost of installation, and any other components, such as solar batteries, can influence the total cost of installing solar panels.

How Big of a Solar System do I need to go Off-Grid in New Mexico?

The size of an off-grid system is primarily determined by the energy needs of a property, the amount of sun the location receives, the type and angle of the roof or ground space where the solar panels will be installed, and the efficiency of the solar panels and other equipment.

However, in contrast to a grid-tied system, where the annual electricity bill is the main concern, the owner of an off-grid system must consider how much electricity each appliance in their home consumes.

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The following are the main components of an off-grid solar system:

  • The Solar Panel: The most critical component of a solar power system that uses photovoltaic cells to turn sunlight into electricity.
  • Charge Controller: It controls and monitors the flow of electricity from the solar panels to the battery. It also ensures that batteries are correctly charged and are not overcharged, which is critical for the longevity of the battery bank and the reduction of safety issues.
  • Battery: The battery stores the energy gathered by solar panels to use when energy generation is low.
  • Inverter: It converts the direct current (DC) stored in the battery bank to usable alternating current (AC), which powers and operates most household appliances.

How to size an off-the-grid solar system

To find out how many solar panels they will need to go off the grid, homeowners must calculate their monthly electric demand, the number of hours of peak sunlight each month, and the capacity of their solar panels. The next step is to divide the overall value of electric usage by the total value of peak sun hours. The final step is to divide the overall result by the solar panel's power rating.

For example, suppose a home in New Mexico consumes 800 kWh of power per month, and the location receives 150 peak sun hours per month. In that case, a solar panel system with a capacity of 5 kilowatts (5,000 watts) would be required.

If the homeowner decides to acquire a 200-watt solar panel system, the residence will require between 25 and 26 solar panels to meet the homeowner's monthly energy demand of 800 kilowatt hours.

Some solar companies offer solar calculators to assist homeowners in choosing the optimal system size for their requirements, including the number of solar panels, batteries, charge controller, and inverter,

System Size(kW) Number of Panels Estimated Space Estimated Cost.
5 26 289 sq. ft $13,400
10 52 578 sq. ft $26,800
20 105 1,168 sq. ft $53,600
50 255 2,838 sq. ft $134,000
100 510 5,676 sq. ft $268,000
200 1020 11,352 sq. ft $536,000

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need in New Mexico?

The total number of solar panel modules that must be installed on a property is determined by several factors, including

Daily, Monthly, and Annual Energy Consumption

Homeowners can determine how much energy their home consumes in a typical month, week, or day by consulting their utility bills. To determine monthly usage, they can look for "kilowatt hours (kWh) used" or something similar on the bill. Since the entire amount utilized was used over 30 days; thus, dividing this number by 30 provides a reasonable estimate of typical daily energy usage.

They also have the option of viewing the readings from their power meter. Simply take the most recent number and subtract the one before it. Then, divide the total by the number of days between the two readings to get an estimate for the average daily consumption. It is advisable to repeat this technique, changing between different sets of measurements each time, to obtain a more accurate average.

Peak sun hours

This refers to the times of day when the sun shines the brightest in a certain place. It is an hour of sunlight that reaches an average of 1000 watts per square meter (approximately 10.5 square feet). Solar panels can work efficiently and create the most electricity when the sun's rays are most intense.

Type of Solar Panel System Coverage

Solar shoppers must consider if they want the solar system to meet all of their energy requirements or a portion. Suppose the panels cover a significant portion of the property's energy needs. In that case, the homeowner must enhance the amount of electricity generated by the system and might require more solar panels.


The number of solar panels required in New Mexico also depends on the homeowner's budget. Because they buy solar panels based on their budget, the total amount invested will influence the quantity, quality, and variety of solar panels they intend to purchase.

Roof characteristics

The number of solar panels a homeowner can install is influenced by various roof-related parameters such as construction, materials, orientation, weight/load-bearing capability, accessibility, usable space, etc.

Homeowners must thoroughly analyze the roof's structure before installing a solar panel system. They must determine if the roof is flat, sloped, or curved because these three distinct roof types necessitate distinct mounting techniques and panel types. They must also evaluate the roof structure to assess whether it can hold the entire weight of the solar panels and mounting equipment.

Consulting a professional solar installer, who can assess the property's solar power potential, is another simple way to determine how many solar panels are needed in a home. They will assess the amount of sunlight received and the energy consumption rates. This knowledge can be used to design a tailored solar panel system that suits the household’s specific requirements.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need for a 3-bedroom house?

In the United States, the average living space of a three-bedroom home is between 1,300 and 1,600 square feet. To meet the homeowner's monthly energy use in New Mexico, 24 solar panels of 250 watts or up to 30 solar panels of 200 watts may be required. A typical American home consumes roughly 11,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, which equates to approximately 917 kWh every month.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need for a 4-bedroom house?

The standard floor plan for a home in the United States with four bedrooms is roughly 2,000 square feet of living space. On average, a 2,000-square-foot home might consume up to 1,000 kWh of electricity every month, meaning the homeowner would require a 7-kilowatt solar energy system with 28 to 35 solar panels.However, some homes may be significantly larger or smaller than these dimensions.

Note: A typical house layout includes a kitchen, dining room, living room, three to four bedrooms, and one or more full bathrooms. Larger homes may have additional bathrooms and rooms such as offices.

Do all Solar Panels Produce the Same Energy?

No, different solar panel models produce varying amounts of electricity. The panel's wattage rating and the solar panel's size are important factors that determine power output. When the same conditions exist, a solar panel with a higher wattage will be able to produce more electricity. Most household solar panels have power output ratings of 250 to 400 watts.

Additionally, the number and size of solar cells in a solar panel directly impact the rated power of a solar panel. Solar panels are classified into three main dimensions: 60-cell, 72-cell, and 96-cell. Most 60-cell solar panels are roughly 5.4 feet tall by 3.25 feet wide, with power output ranging from 270 to 300 watts per panel. Panels with 72 cells are much larger since they have an additional row of cells. They are capable of producing between 350 and 400 watts on average. The 60-cell and 72-cell solar panel sizes are most typically utilized for commercial and domestic solar panels, but the 96-cell occupies 17.5 square feet and can be challenging to place on most roofs.

It is also crucial to note that environmental factors such as shade, direction, and sunlight hours can all affect a panel’s output. Even though a solar panel's wattage rating indicates how much energy it can produce when exposed to full sunlight, the amount of energy produced can be reduced when the panel is shaded by objects such as trees or buildings.

Which Type of Solar Panel is Best for Home Use in New Mexico?

The best solar panels to use in the home are ones that perform the best in terms of the household's energy usage, lowering carbon footprint, and saving money on energy bills. Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline, and Thin-film panels are common choices.


These panels get their name from the single crystal structure they use. The solar cells are made of one of the finest kinds of silicon available. These panels have a higher efficiency rate than polycrystalline or thin-film cells, putting them in a better performance category.

However, due to higher manufacturing and labor costs, monocrystalline solar panels are frequently the more expensive option. They are smaller than others and have a black or blackish-blue tint. They are not only smaller but also more efficient than comparable wattage panels. As a result, they occupy significantly less area than other panels. Furthermore, they have the longest lifespan, with some lasting up to 25 years.


These solar cells comprise several tiny fragments of blue silicon crystals. They are distinguishable by their blue flaky appearance. Polycrystalline cells have a lower efficiency than monocrystalline cells but are easier and less expensive to manufacture. They have an efficiency range of 12 to 15%


These solar panels are flexible and durable, making them excellent options for curved surfaces. However, they require additional maintenance and cleaning to deliver consistent outdoor performance. They also contain rare and potentially toxic elements, including cadmium, requiring extra precautions during manufacturing and recycling.

Can you Run a House Solely on Solar Panels in New Mexico?

Yes, homeowners can power their entire homes with solar energy. In fact, some individuals have utilized extensive solar panel systems to go entirely off the grid, transforming their dwellings into self-sustaining ecosystems. However, for cloudy days or extended periods of bad weather, most homeowners will continue to use their local energy provider as a backup.

Are Tesla Solar Panels Available in New Mexico?

Yes, Tesla solar panels are available in New Mexico. Since 2016, the company has provided solar panel systems to consumers all around the United States, including its one-of-a-kind solar roof. Residents of New Mexico can order the solar panels on the company's website, and have them installed by Tesla Certified Installers like Positive Energy Solar.

Is it Better to Lease or Buy Solar Panels in New Mexico?

Buying and leasing solar panels can be advantageous in certain circumstances. The decision to purchase or lease solar often comes down to the homeowner’s financial situation and long-term housing plans.

Buying Solar Panels in Mexico

Purchasing a solar energy system outright offers the most cost effective approach. Solar customers can either pay in cash or with a solar loan and other government-sponsored financing options.

A home equity loan, a home equity line of credit, or a mortgage refinance are all options for financing a solar energy system.

Pros of purchasing solar panels

Higher Long-Term Savings: Purchasing a solar panel system saves owners more money over the system's lifetime. Most solar panel systems will continue generating electricity for more than 25 years, reducing overall energy usage and monthly electricity bills within that period.

Furthermore, homeowners who purchase a solar energy system own the system and all the electricity it produces. This gives them complete control over the amount of energy they sell, use, or save. Most local utilities will reward them for any power they return to the grid that provides electricity to the community.

Tax Credits and Incentives

When New Mexicans invest in solar panels, they qualify for tax breaks at the local, state, and federal levels and raise the value of their property. These incentives can dramatically reduce the overall cost of installing solar panels.

Easier to Sell the Home

Because the homeowner owns the solar energy system, selling the home would be much easier. They may even earn a higher price than if they had not installed solar panels.

Cons of Buying Solar

Higher Upfront Investment

Even with the federal solar tax credit and other incentives, the cost of installing a solar panel system can

be fairly high. Interested homeowners must have enough money to purchase a solar panel system. Even if they need a loan, they must be in good financial condition to be eligible.

Maintenance Requirements

When a solar energy system is purchased, the owner assumes responsibility for its monitoring and maintenance. If there is a problem, they must pay to have it assessed and corrected, which may be costly depending on the nature of the problem. However, some solar companies provide their customers with real-time system monitoring and maintenance.

More Insurance Coverage Required

To protect the solar energy installation, homeowners may need to increase their property coverage. This could result in higher rates, putting a strain on their finances.

Overall, homeowners may pay cash or seek financing for their solar energy systems, if they have the option. Although the installation demands significant initial expenditure, the panels will generate enough money to compensate for the initial investment in a short period, sometimes less than ten years.

Leasing Solar Panels in Mexico

If paying cash or obtaining finance are not alternatives, leasing is the way to go. A solar lease is a financial arrangement in which the solar company that installed the solar panel system retains ownership. After entering into this agreement, the homeowner will only be liable for the "rent," a monthly fee for using the system, and receive any electricity generated.

Pros of Leasing Solar Panels

No Upfront Cost

One of the most significant advantages of leasing solar panels is that the leasing company bears the installation cost. The solar panel system will be put on the homeowner’s roof at little to no cost after they have examined and agreed to the company’s terms and conditions.

No Maintenance Cost

Because the solar company owns the entire solar system after installation, they are entirely liable for ongoing monitoring and maintenance costs. Homeowners will not be required to pay any upfront costs for the installation or maintenance.

Cons of Leasing Solar Panels

Reduced Savings Potential

When solar panels are leased, the opportunity to save money, in the long run, is significantly decreased. Although the monthly payments to the solar company will result in cost savings on energy bills throughout the lease period, the reductions are often not as considerable as they would be if the homeowner purchased the solar panels outright.

Limited Access to Tax Credits and Other Incentives

Because the solar panel installers own the panels, they are eligible for federal and state government tax breaks and incentives when they lease solar energy systems to customers. They may pass on some of that value in the shape of decreased monthly charges, but they will retain most of it for themselves.

Complicates Real Estate Transactions

Homeowners can still sell their property if they sign a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA); however, the procedure may be more complicated due to the contract with the solar company.

Because the solar installer is the legal owner of the leased panels, they must participate in any discussions about ownership transfer. This is because the financing of the solar power system plays a significant role in the process of selling the property.

The homeowner can either pay off the remainder of the lease to own the panels outright or try to persuade the prospective new owner to take on the lease. Some buyers will refuse to take over the lease, which can prolong the process of selling the home.