Break the Chain – A Manifesto for Everyone without Solar

Break the Chain – A Manifesto for Everyone without Solar image

Dear Solar Consumer, I was considering blogging about some factual details and arguments for the use of solar power; details about its benefits and economic advantages and why a typical New Mexico consumer, whether business or household, should invest in a solar generation solution. I could have written about the triple bottom line – People, Planet and Profit.  About how all of the “smart companies do it”.   I would…

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Solar and Fire Safety

Solar and Fire Safety image

Do I need to worry about them lighting on fire? This is one of the most common questions we get from customers who are preparing to install a solar array on their home or business, and there is definitely logic behind the query. After all, solar panels are electrical equipment, and all electrical equipment has some fire hazard associated with it. Also, anything sitting on top of the roof in a New Mexico summer…

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Rapid Shutdown Requirement Suspended

The Technical Advisory Committee, which is a recommending body to the Electrical Bureau of the Construction Industries Division, just passed a motion to suspend the Rapid Shutdown requirement pending UL listing of an acceptable Rapid Shutdown assembly. They premised this on section 90.4, which invokes enforcement of the prior code (2011). PNM has indicated that they intend to follow CID’s lead on this decision and temporarily suspend any requirement to require plans to demonstrate rapid shutdown equipment. The Electrical…

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Rapid Shutdown Requirement and Affordable’s Response

The New Mexico solar industry received a curious surprise this week at a meeting hosted by the Construction Industries Division (CID) Bureau Chief for the Electrical Division. At that meeting, the Bureau Chief announced that he would be directing CID to enforce a provision of the 2014 National Electric Code (NEC) that has been the subject of some controversy in other states. That provision is known as the “Rapid Shutdown” and is found at Section 690.12 of the code. In…

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PNM Filing for a Rate Hike

PNM Filing for a Rate Hike image

PNM plans to file for another rate hike by this December, according to a recent Albuquerque Journal report. The hike, if approved by the state Public Regulation Commission, will continue the trend of ever increasing PNM rates, and will likely mean higher bills for PNM’s customers. According to the article, “the utility expects to file a rate case with the state Public Regulation Commission by December, although it’s…

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Tariffs, International Trade and What it Means for Solar

Tariffs, International Trade and What it Means for Solar image

This post is an update to a previous post on the topic: International Trade Spat Pushes Solar Prices Higher for New Mexicans If you are like most readers, the nuance of what goes on at the International Trade Commission is a great cure for insomnia. The prospect of such a boring read might, if uncontrolled, fill one with the urge to run across several lanes of interstate traffic. But don’t despair – we’ll make this easy. You can quickly decide…

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Are PNM’s Rates Increasing?

If you are a higher-use customer, your annual rate of increase may be as high at 10%! See this graph which is the actual annual rate increases we analyzed from a customer who came to Affordable Solar and who was curious about what rates of increase they actually had in recent years. Rising utility rates combined with lower equipment and installation costs makes solar a great investment for your home. A typical assumption in our return on investment…

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International Trade Spat Pushes Solar Prices Higher for New Mexicans

International Trade Spat Pushes Solar Prices Higher for New Mexicans image

A Decade of Declining Prices In less than a decade, the solar industry in New Mexico has experienced a broad transformation, due in large part to rapidly plummeting prices for solar panels and associated equipment.  Just a decade ago, solar PV was, for the vast majority of New Mexicans, an idealistic hobby that made no economic sense whatsoever.  An average residential solar installation (approximately 5 kW DC) would cost anyone in the…

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Las Ventanas Homes of New Mexico Strives for Net Zero with Affordable Solar

Las Ventanas Homes of New Mexico Strives for Net Zero with Affordable Solar image

A few weeks ago we met with the three owners of Las Ventanas Homes to talk to them about solar energy for the homes they build in Albuquerque. One of our biggest goals here at Affordable Solar is to help home builders understand the many benefits of solar energy, encouraging them to include solar as a standard feature. Of course builders use solar in a design when it is requested by their customers, but left on their own,  solar often …

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