Skip to Content

Financial obstacles could affect New Mexico’s solar success

With financial obstacles to overcome, both locally and nationally, what does the future of solar energy look like in New Mexico?

The city of Las Cruces recently made a huge commitment to renewable energy, planning to be 100 percent reliant on wind and solar energy by 2050.

“We have access to over 350 days of sun here in Las Cruces, why not use it to help generate power, to help offset our electric costs?” asked Mayor Ken Miyagishima.

One report by the American Jobs Project predicts New Mexico’s solar industry could create 6,800 direct jobs over more than a decade.

“Extensive research and over sixty interviews with stakeholders and experts in New Mexico have identified the advanced solar industry as a promising job creator and economic driver in the state,” the report said.

However, there are other factors that could harm the industry in the short-term. In January, President Donald Trump announced his administration would enact a 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels, used widely in the industry.

“We’ll be making solar products now much more so in the United States,” Trump said. “Our companies have been decimated, and those companies are going to be coming back strong.”

Corey Asbill affectionately refers to the industry as a “solar coaster.” He’s the regional sales manager for SunPower by Positive Sun Energy Solar in Las Cruces.

“We see the market rise and fall pretty significantly over the course of every year,” Asbill told ABC-7.

Mayor Miyagishima told ABC-7 the city’s commitment to renewable energy could be influenced by fluctuating prices in the solar industry.

“Depending on their profit margin, (it) could play a role in how many more projects the city can do,” Miyagishima said.

The mayor told ABC-7 the city’s current electric bill is close to $5 million a year. He said the city will gradually make the transition to solar panels, factoring the savings from solar energy into their budget as they purchase new panels.

“As long as we have the abilities to put it on, and they have the financing and the money to provide, we’ll just take that savings and half that savings will probably be used to pay the debt service to these third party agreements,” Miyagishima said.

New Mexico’s tax credit recently expired and the federal tax credit will expire soon, Asbill said. He promised to ride out the “solar coaster,” even with the uncertainty of tariffs and tax credits.

“When people ask about solar, there is a lot of curiosity about solar right now,” Asbill said. “It’s spreading and growing, rapidly. Even in the face of the tariff.”

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo



KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content