Albuquerque, NM - Albuquerque ranks ninth for installed solar capacity in America, according to a new report released today by Environment New Mexico Research & Policy Center.
The report comes as City Councilors Pat Davis and Isaac Benton announce the first phase of solar development in Albuquerque after adoption of a goal to get 25 percent of the City’s electricity from solar energy.
“By using solar power here in Albuquerque, we can reduce pollution and improve public health for everyday New Mexicans,” said Sanders Moore, director of Environment New Mexico. “We look forward to continuing our work with Councilors Davis and Benton to realize these benefits, by embracing a big vision for solar on rooftops throughout the community.”
The report, Shining Cities: How Smart Local Policies Are Expanding Solar Power in America, ranks Albuquerque ahead of cities like Denver, Austin, and Sacramento for amount of installed solar.
“These [Albuquerque solar] projects will save taxpayers’ money and help fuel our state’s growing solar industry. New Mexico added over 1,000 new solar jobs in 2016 alone,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich. “With our bountiful wind and solar resources, the Land of Enchantment can and should be the epicenter of the United States clean energy economy. If we make the right decisions now, we can create thousands of good-paying clean energy jobs in Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico.”
The figures in the report reflect the recent growth of solar across the country. The top 20 cities listed in the report have nearly as much solar today as the entire country had installed in 2010. In 2016, solar was the number one new source of energy installed in America.
The Solar Foundation just released new data showing there are 1,771 people employed in solar in Albuquerque, a 78 percent increase from 2015.
“Producing our own energy through solar makes sense for the City,” said Albuquerque City Councilor Pa Davis. “It makes sense for our environment and our economy. I’m proud to say we are making Albuquerque a cleaner, greener city, while also creating over 100 local jobs and saving tax payers millions on our electivity bill. I’m proud to be leading a project that will make Albuquerque a solar leader and an example for the rest of the country."
Cities can push solar forward in a number of ways, according to the report. Among the recommendations, cities can set a goal for solar usage, help residents finance solar power and put solar on government buildings.
The report also shows that while Albuquerque is a solar leader, it currently only gets three percent of its electricity from solar.
“Albuquerque stands poised and ready to lead the transition to a clean, renewable energy future in New Mexico.” said Moore from Environment New Mexico. “Albuquerque can continue leading the way and protect our environment by using as much of our solar potential as possible.”
Environment New Mexico Research & Policy Center is a statewide environmental organization dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. www.EnvironmentNewMexicoCenter.org