PNM Solar Energy Customer Program:
Step-By-Step Process To Apply
Find out more about a step by selecting its title.
PNM must approve your application and also approve the completed installation. Without these approvals, PNM cannot purchase your RECs or excess power.
Step 1: Determine your eligibility, typical energy use and goals
- Determine if you're eligible to participate in the PNM Solar Energy Program for small systems.
- You must be a PNM electric customer and own the home or building on which the system will be installed.
- Determine your typical energy usage.
- Using your utility bills or PDF copies of them from your PNM Online Account,find the kWh (kilowatt-hour) usage for each month of the last year.
Calculate the average monthly kWh.Along with your goals and budget, this will help you and your contractor choose the appropriate system size.
- Determine your goals and budget
- Do you want your system to offset your entire energy usage, or just some? - Efficient homes can often be fully powered with a 2-4 kilowatt system, whereas typical homes may require a 4-6 kilowatt system. - Small systems in the PNM Solar Energy Customer Program are 10 kWAC and smaller. - If your home or facility uses a lot of electricity and could benefit from a solar energy system larger than 10 kWAC up to 100 kWAC, you may be interested in the Large Solar Program.
- How much will you be comfortable spending including parts and labor? - A common estimate in the industry is $5,000 per installed kilowatt (1,000 watts) of solar energy. Using this estimate, a 2 kW system would cost about $10,000.
Step 2: Find a contractor and design a system - but don't install yet
- Find a contractor or design a system yourself, if qualified:
- If you're a licensed electrician, you can perform the work yourself: review the technical requirements for a small system, 10 kW or less, grid-tied
- If you're not a licensed electrician, you'll want to find a contractor capable of designing the right system for your needs and budget, and installing it properly. - As with any big home project, it's a good idea to get quotes or bids from a few different vendors.
- If you belong to a homeowners' association, we recommend that you review your covenants.
- Most importantly, don't start construction yet. If you build a system before obtaining approval, you risk paying for a system that does not qualify to receive payments under this program.
Step 3: Send in your application and wait for approval before starting construction.
- Send us your application after you have a preliminary design for your system but before construction begins, to ensure that your system will interconnect properly.
- Most contractors are willing to prepare all of the application and even include the application fee in the overall bid. - Please keep in mind that you, as the interconnection customer, must sign the application; your contractor can not sign on your behalf. - Make sure your contractor is aware of the forms and information at www.pnm.com/solar.
- To apply, you'll send the following five items in one package:
- The completed application form, signed by you, for your program of choice: - Recommended: To interconnect and get both REC payments and net metering, use the Small Solar application and interconnection agreement and check the box labeled "Both Interconnection and Small Solar REC Sales." - Recommended: If you have a home system that is already grid-connected, you may not apply for REC credits. - Not recommended: To connect to the grid and receive the net metering benefit but not the REC payments, use the interconnection application. - Get application to apply for incentives and interconnect a small solar energy system
- A one-line diagram, which is a technical drawing that shows how your system will interconnect to ours and has clear labels on all major equipment and the PNM metering point. - Example: one-line diagram, grid-tied system (.ppt) - Example: one-line diagram, system with a battery backup (.ppt) - Example: one-line diagram, system with a utility line side tap (.ppt)
- A site map diagram, which is a simple, clearly labeled map showing where the panels are installed in relationship to your house or other building, where the disconnection switches will be installed, and where your system connects to ours. - Example: site map diagram (.pdf)
- A specification sheet showing the UL 1741 listing information of the inverter you plan to use so that we can verify it. You can obtain this online or from your contractor.
- Fault current information showing the AC output fault current for each type of inverter used. Fault current at 3 cycles or 50 ms is preferable. If the manufacturer does not provide this, the closest available reading is acceptable. Acceptable documentation for the AC output fault current: (1) specifications data sheet from the manufacturer; or (2) an e-mail from the manufacturer giving the AC output fault current. Please not that official documentation is required; noting the data on the 1-line or 3-line diagrams will not be accepted.
- Mail the application and required diagrams to:
Freda Crockett - Customer Solar Programs
Albuquerque, N.M., 87158-1135
- Once we receive your application, we'll review it to make sure your proposed system meets all safety and regulatory requirements.
PNM will notify you and your contractor if your application is complete or not.
- If complete, we will also provide the REC price you will be receiving.
- If incomplete, we will provide you with a list of what is missing. Your application will be held until we receive these items.
- PNM will then complete a technical screening of the project to make sure it meets requirements set by The New Mexico Interconnection Manual (.pdf)
Your project must pass the technical screening before you begin construction.
- PNM will notify you and your contractor if your project passed the screening.
- If your project does not pass the screening, PNM will provide you with other options.
Step 4: Sign the contracts, install your system and then arrange for inspections and final approval
- You'll receive a contract package from PNM by mail. Sign the contracts and return them to us.
- Next, have the PNM-approved system installed.
- You have nine months from the date you were notified your project passed the technical screening to complete the installation.
- When your system installation is almost complete, you or your contractor needs to arrange for city, county or state electrical inspection depending on your location. Request a field inspection by the State of N.M. (rld.state.nm.us)
Once your system passes the electrical inspection:
- The inspector notifies us.
- We'll verify this information, then install a production meter where shown on your site diagram within about 10 business days. You won't need to be present.
- Then we'll arrange to meet you at your home to interconnect your system and perform the final inspection, which includes: - An anti-islanding test, which ensures that in an outage, your system will stop putting energy onto our grid. This safety precaution protects PNM personnel during outages. - Verification that the laminated one-line diagram and site map are placed on site.
Watch your mailbox for PNM-signed copies of the Interconnection Agreement and Small Solar REC Purchase Agreement. Keep these for your records; they indicate that the interconnection process of your solar energy system to the electric grid is complete.Return to Solar Energy Customer Program overview