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Albuquerque Business First: Proposed tax credit could boost renewable energy use in NM

Proposed tax credit could boost renewable energy use in NM – Albuquerque Business First

A potential new tax credit tied to solar power is headed to Congress next week via one of New Mexico's two U.S. senators.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., plans to introduce a tax credit for storage based on the current solar energy credit, according to a report in Greentech Media. Heinrich's office couldn't immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) is introducing a new, proposed 30 percent tax credit in the Senate next week that could prompt more use of solar by homeowners and businesses.

The proposed legislation would offer a 30 percent credit to homes and businesses. The incentive for businesses applies to systems with at least 5 kilowatt-hours, and the credit for homeowners requires at least 3 kilowatt-hours of capacity. 

Storage is particularly important for businesses and homeowners with solar panels because energy that isn't used right away typically flows back into the electrical grid, and can't be used later when demand increases.

Positive Energy Solar CEO Regina Wheeler told Business First by email that an increase in cost-effective storage is likely to increase solar adoption, but a credit that includes small commercial customers would be particularly helpful. 

"For residential customers, I think residents would be attracted to the availability of backup power afforded by batteries," said Wheeler. "For small commercial customers, more storage would help them reduce demand charges, and that would make solar more cost effective."

Wheeler also says figuring out the utility side of the equation is critical.

"Utility storage is a key part of the solution to allow utilization of more clean, affordable renewable energy and distributed resources," said Wheeler. "Senator Heinrich's work on this is visionary. Cost-effective, highly reliable storage will be adopted rapidly by utilities, residents and businesses." 

Both utility energy storage and residential storage have been on the agenda for the state's Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, and Gov. Susana Martinez named it as a potential growth area last year in setting out a state energy plan.