On August 16, the Albuquerque Journal published an Op-ed authored by our executive director, Jim DesJardins, in response to several articles about predatory sales practices in the solar industry. REIA is taking this issue very seriously.
We Condemn Predatory Practices in Our Industry
As the executive director of The Renewable Energy Industries Association of New Mexico (REIA-NM), a trade association which represents more than 60 members in the solar industry, I was disheartened to read the Albuquerque Journal articles about predatory solar sales practices occurring in New Mexico and yet grateful that these issues are coming to light. It is unfortunate that practices by a handful of companies threatens to harm the integrity of a thriving industry in New Mexico.
As more than 40,000 New Mexicans know, the benefits of installing solar on your home and business are numerous including lower electric bills and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. The solar industry also benefits our state by positively contributing to the economy, employing more than 2,000 New Mexicans, paying local and state taxes, purchasing supplies from local companies and investing more than $433 million in the state just in 2022.
REIA-NM has been aware of this consumer issue in the industry for some time and was actively involved with others in the passage of the Distributed Generation Consumer Protection bill in the 2017 New Mexico legislative session. This law requires reasonable and appropriate disclosures by solar companies to solar customers in New Mexico
REIA-NM has continued to work on this issue (before the publication of these articles) by meeting with the New Mexico Attorney General's office, the New Mexico Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Dept, state legislators, municipalities and utilities to address these issues that are bad for our industry and the general public. We have also recently updated our website with a tab for "Consumer Information" that we will build out with additional information.
Unfortunately, a few companies are still taking advantage of customers to make a quick buck. REIA-NM is committed to work with other stakeholders to root out these bad actors in our industry so that "solar" has a good name in our communities.
A few suggestions for New Mexicans who may be considering adding solar energy to their home or business include:
- · Always get bids from at least two solar companies.
- · Make sure that you understand whether you will own, lease or have a power purchased agreement and all costs associated with financing the system.
- · Quotes should include all costs, including any required upgrades and specific warranty information.
- · A quote should separately itemize all tax credits. The New Mexico solar tax credit has a limited amount of funds and the federal tax credit requires tax liability.
- · Ask who will be installing the system.
- · The New Mexico Distributed Generation Disclosure form should be provided when an agreement is signed or such language should be imbedded in the contract.
For additional consumer protection information, visit the Solar Energy Industry Association’s guide: Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power. www.seia.org/sites/default/files/2023-25/Resi%20Guide%20to%20Solar%20Power%20June%202023.pdf
Since its founding in 2004, REIA-NM has strived for integrity and professionalism in the solar industry. We condone any company that misrepresents its product and service offerings and does not tell the truth to its customers. REIA is committed to continuing these efforts and others to root out bad actors in our industry so that "solar" has a good name in our communities.
Renewable Energy Industries Association of New Mexico