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Energy Incentive Programs, New Mexico

Updated November 2012

What public-purpose-funded energy efficiency programs are available in my state?

In 2005, Governor Richardson signed the "Efficient Use of Energy" Act, which directs New Mexico's utilities to fund energy efficiency programs through a utility bill surcharge capped at 1.5% of customers' bills. In 2008, the New Mexico state legislature passed, and the governor signed, a law that requires electric utilities to achieve at least 5% energy savings by 2014 (and 10% by 2020) relative to their 2005 electricity sales through cost-effective energy efficiency programs. In 2011, New Mexico utilities budgeted nearly $35 million to promote energy efficiency in the state (including residential and load management programs).

What utility energy efficiency programs are available to me?

Xcel Energy (Southwestern Public Service Company of New Mexico) received approval from the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission for its 2012 demand-side management (DSM) plan, which calls for spending $10 million annually on 12 programs, with the goal of saving about 41 million kWh per year (approximately 1.1% of projected 2012 electricity sales). The utility offers rebates under various energy efficiency initiatives, both for existing buildings and new construction. Rebate programs include:

  • Cooling Efficiency, which provides rebates of up to 50% of incremental costs on average for efficient chillers, condensing units, rooftop units, split systems, water source heat pumps, evaporative cooling and more.

  • Custom Efficiency, which provides up to $400 per kW of power reduced for almost any type of electric equipment upgrade or process improvement that leads to energy savings. Custom Efficiency projects require pre-approval before equipment purchase and installation.

  • Lighting Efficiency for lighting retrofits, new construction, or custom measures.

  • Motor and Drive Efficiency for new motors, motor upgrades, variable/adjustable drives, and custom projects.

  • Small Business Lighting, which provides rebates as well as free audits and assistance with the paperwork and installation process to facilities that have peak demands of 400 kW or less.

Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) offers several rebate programs for business customers, including:

  • Retrofits for energy-saving upgrades to existing buildings, including both prescriptive (lighting, HVAC, refrigeration and motors) as well as custom incentives for improvements with verifiable electric savings.

  • New Construction for projects that are more energy-efficient than required by New Mexico building code. Incentives payments are $0.08 per estimated first year kWh saved for projects at least 10% more efficient than code and $0.10 for projects at least 20% more efficient than code.

  • Advanced Evaporative Cooling, which provides up to $500 per qualifying unit installed, depending on the system.

  • The Quick Saver™ Program, which provides free energy assessments and rebates (of 50% or more of the cost) for installation of efficient lighting and refrigeration equipment to qualified customers with monthly peak demands of 100 kW or less.

El Paso Electric (EPE) offers financial incentives for commercial/industrial customers:

  • Rebates for a wide range of efficient equipment include lighting, motors, commercial cooling, cool roof systems, vending misers, window treatments, and custom efficiency measures.

  • The Large Customer Self-Directed Option allows large customers (> 7,000 MWh/year) that wish to undertake self-directed cost-effective energy efficiency measures to opt out of paying a share of EPE's EPESaver Program costs. In exchange for foregoing financial incentives, eligible large customers whose application and supporting documentation are approved by the Self-Direct Program Administrator may receive a credit equal to the incremental energy efficiency expenditures. Additional governing rules apply.

  • The Electric Score Plus program provides technical assistance and financial incentives ($0.35/kWh saved) for the installation of energy-efficient lighting, HVAC systems, roofing and other equipment and measures in existing buildings or new construction and renovation projects.

The New Mexico Gas Company provides rebates for the purchase and installation of new and replacement energy-efficient gas space, water heating, and food service equipment. Incentives are also available for custom projects, which may include HVAC and boiler controls, insulation, duct sealing, roofing and other energy-saving measures. The utility also provides direct, no-cost installations of low-flow water-saving equipment.

What load management/demand response options are available to me?

Public Service Company of New Mexico offers two load management programs:

  • The Peak Saver Program, open to large customers on qualifying rates, provides quarterly financial incentives to participants in return for voluntarily reducing the amount of energy they use during peak demand days, typically the hottest days of the year. The size of the incentive paid depends on the amount of electricity managed by the program.

  • The Power Saver Program offers small- (< 50 kW) and medium- (< 150 kW) sized facilities annual payments and a generous one-time enrollment bonuses for allowing the company to connect a load control device to their air conditioning units so that they can be controlled in a similar way as a thermostat. On selected summer weekday afternoons when electricity demand soars, the Power Saver device receives a wireless signal that puts the air conditioner into a conservation mode.

Xcel Energy (Southwestern Public Service Company of New Mexico) offers several load management programs:

  • The Interruptible Credit Option (ICO) provides opportunities for significant electric bill savings to customers who have a contract interruptible load (the median of maximum demands from noon-8pm weekdays from June 1 to September 30 of the previous year) of at least 500 kW. Participants choose the amount of interruption appropriate for their facility. Remuneration in the form of a monthly credit is based on the maximum annual hours of interruption and the advance notice needed, so it ranges widely --from $4.17 to $12.54 per kW of controllable load in summer, when the majority of interruption events are called. Customers may choose either the year-round or summer only version of the program.

  • The Peak Day Partners program provides bill credit or direct payment for customers who voluntarily accept an offer to reduce electricity loads during peak events, which usually occur weekdays from June 1 through September 30. Customers must be able to reduce electricity load by at least 500 kW, and accept or decline offers to commit to a minimum load reduction for individual events via a secure internet-based system.

  • The Saver's Switch for Business offers program participants an October bill discount of $20 per ton of enrolled air conditioning in exchange for customers allowing the utility to cycle the air conditioning on and off for 15- to 20-minute intervals during periods of peak electric demand in the summer. To be eligible, customers must have a central air conditioning unit with at least 5 tons of cooling capacity.

What distributed energy resource options are available to me?

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) website provides information on programs that offer incentives for renewable distributed generation. Federal customers may be interested in the following offerings:

Xcel Energy offers two renewable energy incentive programs for solar and biomass installations:

  • For customers that install a qualifying existing PV system, the Solar*Rewards program provides renewable energy credits (RECs) step 2 payments of $0.10 per kWh AC energy production generated by small systems (up to 10 kW DC). Net energy production is measured each month and payments are made in the form of a credit on customers' bills. If the credit reaches $50 or more, a check is issued. Program eligibility depends on the condition and orientation of the facility's roof, among other requirements.

  • Xcel customers who install biomass generation at their facilities can receive REC payments of $0.08 per kWh for the actual biomass energy produced. There are two different programs, one for systems from 10 kW AC to a maximum electric service entrance capacity of 50 kW AC, and one for systems greater than 50 kW AC but less than 1 MW AC. Customers must submit an application and enter into an agreement with Xcel. Larger systems require approval from the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.

Public Service of New Mexico's (PNM) Solar Energy Customer Program, for large systems (> 10 kW and up to 1 MW), offers two incentives in combination. As of September, 2012, the Solar Energy Incentive Program provides a per-kWh credit ($0.05 for systems sized 10kW-100kW, and $0.02 for systems sized 100kW-1 MW) for energy generated and consumed on-site. When PV systems produce more electricity than the facility consumes, PNM will credit the customer account for the excess. The Small PV Program, for systems of 10 kW or less, offers net metering and REC purchases at $0.04/kWh.

Are there energy efficiency programs sponsored by the state government?

No state energy efficiency programs are currently available to federal customers. For information on future opportunities, contact the Energy Conservation and Management Division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

What additional opportunities are available to me?

Federal customers whose utilities have area-wide supply contracts through GSA (e.g., El Paso Electric and Public Service Co. of New Mexico), may be able to take advantage of 3rd-party financed energy efficiency projects called utility energy services contracts (UESCs). Information is available on GSA's Energy Center of Expertise Library Page. Federal facilities should contact their account executive to determine the level of each utility's participation.

NOTE: Energy efficiency funds and demand response programs are updated at least annually.