Welcome to our official website. Please look around and contact us with any questions or comments. We believe that anyone can be a part of energy conservation on a small scale, and we would like to help people reach this goal at an affordable cost. Our mission is providing clear customer education, thoughtful design, fair pricing with quality components, careful installation, and responsive service.
We work with owners to size a solar system that will offset as much power as possible, but no more than necessary, using the National Renewable energy Laboratory's PV Watts estimation program.
All Advantage Energy Solutions, LLC and Corrales Solar designs are installed through a contract between the homeowner and Compass Electric Company, a licensed and insured Albuquerque company with extensive experience in solar installation.
Residential or Commercial--We can design and oversee installation of PV systems ranging from small, pole-mounted, -grid arrays to much larger grid-tied rooftop arrays. We are familiar with the application and commissioning process with New Mexico utilities, and the permitting requirements of various municipalities. We provide free site visits and estimates.
Renewable energy comes from a natural source that is theoretically inexhaustible, and includes wind, solar, biomass, tidal, wave, and hydroelectric. Of these, solar is the most versatile and simplest to site on a residence.
The electrification of the United States was accomplished in the 1920s and 1930s through the development of centralized large-scale power plants and a network of distribution power lines. Large hydroelectric facilities and nuclear power plants were added to the grid through the 1960s and 1970s. All of the large power generating facilities were designed to generate and sell power to the consumer, and the utilities that own them are highly-regulated monopolies.
Changes to Federal energy policy in 1992 and 2005 encouraged renewable sources, and allowed generation of power from sources such as wind and solar farms. This changed the flow of electrons for the first time.
Small-scale solar remained a niche power source for off-grid use until the invention of the grid-tied inverter, which synchronized solar power with utility grid power, and allowed excess power at a residence to flow onto the grid. This ability to offset utility bills fueled exponential growth in small residential systems, growing distributed rather than centralized power production.
Battery storage of excess power is becoming more affordable and useful as a means of backup power and/or a way to shift load to a less expensive time of day.
Q: How does solar PV work?
A: Sunlight hits the solar panels, where photons are converted to a direct current (DC). The direct current is routed to an inverter, which changes it to alternating current (AC). In a grid-tied system, the inverter locks onto the utility power and frequency, and, if more power is being made than is being used, the power flows onto the grid.
Q: What is net metering?
A: A qualified generation system must be allowed to push power onto the grid. Net metering is the process of compensation for the owner of the generator. Different utilities interpret net metering differently. In the PNM Small Solar Program, with inverter(s) no larger than 10kW AC, power that is pushed onto the grid becomes a credit, which may be used at a later date. The PNM Large Solar Program does not have the credit carryover provision.
Q: What is a kilowatt hour?
A: A kilowatt hour (kWh) is the basic unit of power consumption. Your utility bill provides a total of how many kWh you used in a month. A kilowatt (kW) is 1,000 watts, and a kilowatt hour is 1,000 watts of power used for one hour. It may be compared to ten 100-watt lamps on for one hour.
Q: How are PV systems sized?
A: A PV system is generally sized in kilowatts (kW) of DC power. The size in watts of each panel times the number of panels divided by 1000 is the kW size of a system.
Q: How do I know how much PV I need?
A: Within the PNM Small PV Program, the economic sweet spot is an offset of all of your annual use, or a bit less. First total twelve months of your monthly usage in kWh to get your annual usage. A good rule of thumb in the Albuquerque area is that a PV system will produce 5 kWh per DC kW of system size per day. Divide the total annual kWh by 5, then by 365 to come up with an estimated of the size in DC kW. For example, the average PNM customer averages 600 kWh/month, so 12 X 600 = 7200 kWh/year. 7200 / 5 / 365 = 3.94 kW.
Q: Can't I oversize my system and have PNM pay me for power?
A: It does not work out economically to oversize, under either of PNM's Solar Programs. With the Small Program, you wind up with a credit that is only good if you use it, and with the Large Program, you are paid for excess power at PNM's wholesale cost.
Q: How much does a PV system cost?
A: The cost of a PV system depends on a few factors, such as the price of panels, the type of mount, and the type of inverter(s). Premium high-efficiency panels can be expensive, and are best used where space for panels is limited. Any roof mount is less expensive than a ground mount, and flush mounts on a pitched roof are less expensive than ballast mounts on a flat roof. Microinverters are cost effective for a small system, but become much more expensive than string inverters in large system. Large systems in general are less expensive per watt than small systems. A ballpark working number would be in the range of $2.25 to $3.25/watt.