Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes Continues Effort to Renew Solar Tax Credit
Santa Fe, NM – Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes (R-Bernalillo) has pre-filed legislation to renew the state’s residential solar tax credit, which demonstrates her continued support for New Mexico’s burgeoning solar industry. The legislation proposed by Maestas Barnes would renew the expired tax credit for an additional eight years, from January 2018 to the end of 2025. It would also establish an aggregate cap for the tax credit at $5 million for solar thermal and solar photovoltaic systems.
“New Mexico enjoys over 300 days of sunshine every year. It makes sense for the state take advantage of this abundant resource and promote this rapidly growing industry,” said Maestas Barnes. “Solar energy is an important part of a comprehensive energy and economic strategy. Renewing this tax credit will help bring solar energy to more New Mexico households, reducing consumer energy costs and creating jobs.”
As of September 2016, there were 99 solar-related businesses in the state employing close to 1,900 New Mexicans. New Mexico currently ranks 13th nationally in installed solar capacity. By comparison, Arizona, ranked second in installed solar capacity, has more than 375 solar-related businesses employing nearly 7,000 people in that state. Colorado is ranked ninth in installed solar capacity with 382 solar-related businesses employing almost 5,000 people there.
Maestas Barnes worked on this legislation during the interim and presented it to the New Mexico Jobs Council in November 2016. Sen. Mimi Stewart (D-Bernalillo) also pre-filed a duplicate bill in the Senate.
Maestas Barnes has previously sponsored bills to promote renewable energy research at our state’s universities and encourage industry development, including a similar solar tax credit bill in the last legislative session.
“While it was in place, the solar tax credit helped thousands of New Mexico families by creating jobs and adding affordable, clean energy to our electric grid,” said Regina Wheeler, CEO of Positive Energy Solar. “The solar industry has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in New Mexico, and renewing the tax credit is a modest step that will increase the return on that investment for all New Mexicans. We thank Rep. Maestas Barnes for her continued leadership in this area.”