New Mexico receives more than 3200 hours of sunshine per year, twice the sunlight received by other regions in the United States. The state's average daily energy consumption of over 900 billion BTUs is equivalent to the amount of solar energy received on an average day within an 18 square mile area. This energy is equivalent to 161,000 barrels of crude oil. Hence, the potential for solar energy production in our state is great.
The advantages of solar energy have been known and used for thousands of years. From the ancient Greeks to the cliff dwellings of the American Southwest, people have been orientating their homes towards the sun to not just warm their living spaces but to protect the environment. The first recorded use of utilizing the sun’s power was in the 7th century BC, when magnifying glasses or crystals were used to light fires. Edmund Becquerel, a French physicist, in 1839, only 19 years old at the time, discovered that there is a creation of voltage when a material is exposed to light, paving the path to the modern photovoltaic cell.
Buying a solar energy system will likely increase your home’s value. A recent study [http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/11/12/premium-for-solar-homes/] found that solar panels are viewed as upgrades, just like a renovated kitchen or a finished basement, and home buyers across the country have been willing to pay a premium of about $15,000 for a home with an average-sized solar array. Additionally, there is evidence homes with solar panels sell faster than those without. In 2008, California homes with energy efficient features and PV were found to sell faster than homes that consume more energy. Keep in mind, these studies focused on homeowner-owned solar arrays.