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Many El Paso Electric Solar Customers in New Mexico will see an end to the bonus Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) they have become accustomed to receiving.   Effective December 31st, 2020, these credits will no longer apply on your electric bills.

RECs Ending?

This should not be a surprise to New Mexico EPE customers that went solar before the end of 2016.   Many were informed in advance that the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) were limited.  Nevertheless the notification letter they received still came as an unexpected surprise.

The amount of RECs EPE purchased was fixed and would be paid to solar customers in the form of a $.02/kWh credit on their bills.  This was credit for the power solar customers produced by adding solar to their homes.  When the credits were exhausted, customers would no longer receive them.

In order to receive the RECs, the solar customer filled out a subscription application to receive these credits.  After 2018, EPE no longer accepted applications from new solar customers.   New Mexico customers that went solar after that point really never knew about these credits.

The EPE Notification Letter

We get lots of calls from customers after the received their notification letter from El Paso Electric.   Many people misread it as EPE no longer crediting them for the power they produced.  That is not the case.  Through Net Energy Metering (NEM) you are still getting credit for the energy you displace into the grid.

The Strength of Net Energy Metering

Every kWh you produce that you don’t use in your house immediately has to go somewhere.   Since you are plugged into the electric grid, that energy leaves your house and go outward and supplies power to your neighbors.   In trade for allowing EPE to use your excess energy, they give you a credit for that and apply it against the electricity you take back such as at night — when the sun is no longer shining.

This happens day after day and essentially, you never pay for electricity until you use more than you produce.   At the end of the month, EPE does a “true up” to determine if you used more than you produced or produced more than you used.  If it is the latter, you get a credit.  If you used more, they charge you for the difference.

If you are receiving a credit, it is based on a rate of approximately $.012/kWh.  That is not much.  It’s pennies on the dollar for your excess power.   But…, you are still getting something.  Although not much.  You are not being paid the $.02/kWh bonus you were used to receiving at the end of month for the energy you produced.

Those RECs were great!!

They added up.  Instead of them being just a credit for excess power, they were based on all the energy you produced that month.  This is one of the reasons you received that second meter when you went solar.  You know the one!  It has a neat little label on it that reads “REC.”  This is how the electric utility knew how much to pay you.

This could be an opportunity for you

So you are losing those RECs.  Don’t fret!!   You can make up the difference for the loss of the credits by adding more panels to your existing system.   Just produce more power!  You could even think about storing some of that excess energy so you don’t have to give it to the electric utility.

Added panels give you the satisfaction of producing more power and energy storage (aka batteries) give you the peace of mind of back up power in the event of a gird power outage.  You could also self-consume which means you just keep your excess energy and use it at night.   Keep it.  Don’t put back into the grid. After all, you are not getting paid those RECS any more.

In New Mexico you can take advantage of the 10% State Tax Credit and the 26% Federal Tax Credit if you install your additional solar and/or battery this year.   You may be able to use other technologies to reduce the energy you use.  

How we can help

Solar Smart Living has been serving Southern New Mexico and West Texas since 2008.   Our engineers have helped our customers produce their own solar energy from well-designed solar energy systems.  We even help with storage design and installation.  Learn more about our Energy Storage Systems (ESS) on our main website.   While there, fill out the Quote Request form and one of our experienced energy consultants will be be in touch and happy to help you.

Alan is a solar and sustainable energy advocate. He has served the renewables industry for over 5 years for companies such as Solar City and Tesla and now acts as the Director of Business and Market Development for Solar Smart Living.

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