Solar tax credit heads to Guv’s desk

A bill to reinstate a solar tax credit is headed to the governor’s desk. The bill, sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, passed the House floor Wednesday by a vote of 51-19. SB 29 would create a personal income tax credit to cover 10 percent of the costs of a solar thermal or […]

Solar tax credit heads to Guv’s desk

A bill to reinstate a solar tax credit is headed to the governor’s desk. The bill, sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, passed the House floor Wednesday by a vote of 51-19.

SB 29 would create a personal income tax credit to cover 10 percent of the costs of a solar thermal or solar photovoltaic system for residential, business or agriculture applications. Democratic Rep. Matthew McQueen of Galisteo is the House sponsor of the bill. 

New Mexico initiated a similar tax credit in the last decade, which expired in 2016. The Legislature passed a bill to reinstate the credit that same year, but it was pocket-vetoed by then-Gov. Susana Martinez.

“We’ve passed this a couple times,” McQueen said. “We’re just trying to reinstate that.”

The bill would cap the tax credit at $6,000 per project, with an $8 million annual total limit. The tax credit would expire in eight years.

While the bill ultimately garnered bipartisan support on the floor vote, Republicans spent three hours debating the bill. 

Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho, said he was supportive of the earlier solar tax credit, but wouldn’t support this one.

“I’m going to use this credit as an example of a credit that worked, did what it was supposed to do, and why it should now go away,” he said.

Harper argued that the price of solar systems has decreased since the last tax credit was implemented in 2008, and that the industry should be able to compete effectively without tax credits.

“With the price dropping, the efficiency being where it’s at, and the industry being established, it is now time for them to stand on their feet, and not be subsidized by wage-earner dollars,” he said. 

RELATED: Solar tax credit, transmission line bills advance in the Senate

Rep. Randal Crowder, R-Clovis, claimed that the industry is moving away from residential solar installations.

“A lot of the neighborhoods in my part of the state are implementing restrictive covenants in order to prohibit rooftop solar from showing up in their subdivisions. The neighborhood does not like the appearance,” Crowder said. “How wise is it to put this amount of money in tax credits into something when the industry is moving away from this?”

Crowder added that he’s only seen rooftop solar systems in high-end homes, and brought up an issue about wording in the bill that stated the credit would encourage the installation of solar systems “in” the residence, rather than “on” the residence.

“How are you going to get your photovoltaic systems to work if they’re inside the residence?” Crowder said.

“This isn’t something we’ve stumbled on before,” McQueen said. “The key issue here is that they should be connected to the residence.”

Rep. Larry Scott, R-Hobbs, challenged the idea that the solar tax credit would have any meaningful impact on climate change or reducing emissions in the state.

“How would rooftop solar help?” Scott said. “Would it surprise you to know that the [carbon dioxide] saved from this $64 million expenditure is not even a rounding error in state emissions, let alone the emissions on the planet.”

Scott then tried to amend the bill to include a $250,000 cap on the assessed value of the home to be eligible for the tax credit. The amendment garnered support from other Republicans, but was tabled. 

The bill passed the Senate over the weekend and passed the House by a vote of 51-19 Wednesday.

We're ad free

That means that we rely on support from readers like you. Help us keep reporting on the most important New Mexico Stories by donating today.

Related

Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List, a nonprofit that supports women candidates and reproductive rights, endorsed seven incumbents facing general election opponents in New Mexico legislative elections. All…
Equality New Mexico endorses 15 legislative candidates

Equality New Mexico endorses 15 legislative candidates

A New Mexico-based LGBTQ rights organization endorsed 15 candidates for state House and Senate seats for the 2024 elections.  Marshall Martinez, executive director of…
Lujan Grisham pocket vetoes two bills

Lujan Grisham pocket vetoes two bills

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham pocket vetoed two bills the legislature passed this legislative session: one changing the Cybersecurity Act and the other concerning law…
Economic Development Department announces Energy Transition Act funding awards

Economic Development Department announces Energy Transition Act funding awards

Funding to assist with economic development following the closure of the San Juan Generating Station will be distributed to four projects in San Juan,…
BLM increases what companies must pay to extract oil and gas 

BLM increases what companies must pay to extract oil and gas 

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced a new rule Friday governing onshore oil and gas production that advocacy groups say will help protect…
Court hears arguments in oil and gas pollution case

Court hears arguments in oil and gas pollution case

A district court judge heard arguments Friday about whether to dismiss a lawsuit that could have major implications for the oil and gas industry…
Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican The main things that bring Brayan Chavez to school every day: Seeing, talking to and engaging with…
Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican Brittany Behenna Griffith has a laundry list of adjectives to describe the ideal special education teacher:…
Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican A challenging task awaits New Mexico lawmakers in the next 30 days: Reconciling three very different…
Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Amy Maxmen, KFF Health News Four years after hospitals in New York City overflowed with covid-19 patients, emergency physician Sonya Stokes remains shaken by…
Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday $10 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act was awarded to six tribal nations and…
Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

The House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee discussed a potential constitutional amendment that seeks to limit the governor’s executive powers. The committee approved…
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that an 1864 abortion ban is enforceable, throwing another state bordering New Mexico into the situation of…
The status of the lawsuit New Mexico joined to remove FDA restrictions to mifepristone

The status of the lawsuit New Mexico joined to remove FDA restrictions to mifepristone

While the U.S. Supreme Court considers the future of access to the abortion medication, mifepristone, another lawsuit against the FDA that would expand access…
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that an 1864 abortion ban is enforceable, throwing another state bordering New Mexico into the situation of…
The status of the lawsuit New Mexico joined to remove FDA restrictions to mifepristone

The status of the lawsuit New Mexico joined to remove FDA restrictions to mifepristone

While the U.S. Supreme Court considers the future of access to the abortion medication, mifepristone, another lawsuit against the FDA that would expand access…
Vasquez calls out Republicans for ‘inaction’ on border policy

Vasquez calls out Republicans for ‘inaction’ on border policy

U.S. Rep. Gabriel “Gabe” Vasquez, a Democrat who represents the state’s 2nd Congressional District along the U.S.-Mexico border, cosponsored a resolution on Monday calling…
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
Politics Newsletter: Early and absentee voting

Politics Newsletter: Early and absentee voting

Good morning fellow political junkies! Early and absentee voting for the June 4 New Mexico primary begins in about a month. The nonprofit election…

Can the Albuquerque Police Department ever be reformed?

by Joshua Bowling, Searchlight New Mexico In the past decade, reforming the Albuquerque Police Department has cost nearly $40 million and generated 5,600 pages…
Politics Newsletter: Uncommitted primary voting

Politics Newsletter: Uncommitted primary voting

Hello fellow political junkies! Early and absentee voting in the New Mexico Primary begin on May 7. With many voters readying their choice for…
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…

GET INVOLVED

© 2023 New Mexico Political Report