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House approves solar tax credits

Roundhouse. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

SANTA FE — Legislators are sending the governor legislation that would reinstate a tax credit intended to encourage the installation of solar panels on homes and small businesses.

The proposal, Senate Bill 29, would re-establish a tax credit for up to 10% of the cost of installing the system, with a limit of $6,000 per household. A similar credit expired in 2016.

It would cost New Mexico somewhere between $3.4 million to $7.5 million a year in tax revenue, legislative analysts said.

Rep. Matthew McQueen, D-Galisteo, said he hopes the bill will promote the use of renewable energy and reduce the reliance on coal and fossil fuels.

“I believe there is ample evidence,” he told his colleagues, “that the burning of fossil fuels is changing our climate to the our great detriment.”

Opponents of the bill said the tax credit is no longer necessary. The cost of solar installations has come down, they said, and the industry can stand on its own without incentives that cost the state revenue.

The legislation is co-sponsored by McQueen and Senate Majority Whip Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, expressed support for the bill, applauding legislators for its passage.

It picked up bipartisan support in both chambers, passing the House 51-19 and the Senate 33-6.

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