ALBUQUERQUE -- Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M) launched a Solar Toolkit to connect communities to resources and proven strategies to go solar. The online toolkit is a comprehensive guide to connect local governments, tribes, schools, rural businesses, local power providers, and others with the resources they need to build solar into their portfolios.
Senator Heinrich was joined by Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis, Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) President Kathie Winograd, Sandia National Laboratories Principal Member of the Technical Staff Sandra Begay, State Director of Environment New Mexico Sanders Moore, and other community leaders at a press conference to announce the release of the Solar Toolkit and to share success stories from around the state that show how solar power is creating jobs and boosting the economy.
“Solar power presents a major opportunity to create jobs and investment in industries of the future – especially in rural areas – and to make the overall economy more innovative, productive, and clean. Solar delivers clean, sustainable energy for less, and creates thousands of jobs in our state,”said Senator Heinrich. “It is my hope that this Solar Toolkit provides a launching point for local governments, tribes, schools, power providers, rural businesses, policymakers and educational institutions to consider whether solar can meet their needs. The toolkit includes commonly used resources, highlights success stories from around the state, and provides reflections from the New Mexicans who have gotten the job done. There is no doubt that solar works for New Mexico. The installed price of solar is lower than it ever has been, and more and more communities throughout New Mexico are building solar into their portfolios. Cities are saving taxpayer dollars, tribes are providing stipends to their members, and businesses in cities and rural communities alike are seeing lower utility bills.”
“We just announced ten new solar projects to help us achieve our goal of using renewable energy to reach net zero status at City facilities,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller. “These projects not only help us reduce our carbon footprint, but they’re creating local solar jobs and saving taxpayer dollars. We hope to inspire other communities throughout the state to follow our lead and make New Mexico a renewable energy leader.”
“By using public dollars to invest in solar and our local workforce, we’re not only living up to our promise to make our city greener, we’re also building a 21st century green workforce and jobs the next generation won’t have to leave New Mexico to find. This toolkit is a model for helping cities across the country follow our lead,”said Pat Davis, Albuquerque City Councilor.
“On behalf of CNM, we greatly appreciate Senator Heinrich’s leadership and his efforts through this new Solar Toolkit to help more communities across the state access the benefits of solar power,” said Katharine Winograd, CNM President. “CNM is honored to be a part of this movement and we will continue to educate and train students in solar panel installation so they can support the growth of the solar industry in New Mexico.”
“The Department of Energy's Office of Indian Energy sponsors Sandia’s engineering work to provide tribal energy strategic energy planning. Through the Tribal Energy Program, I assisted the Mescalero Apache Tribe and the Picuris Pueblo develop long-range energy plans. Now people can read about these tribes' success stories, and use these resources to develop their own,” said Sandra Begay, Principal Member of the Technical Staff, Sandia National Laboratories, who leads the Lab’s technical efforts to assist Native American tribes with their renewable energy developments.
"New Mexico is the second sunniest state in the country, yet we lag behind states like Massachusetts and North Carolina in our solar energy production. From the City of Albuquerque to the Mescalero Apache Hatchery and the Rio Rancho Schools, New Mexicans across the state are harnessing the power of the sun. Sen. Heinrich's Solar Toolkit will help more cities, schools, and tribes transition to solar energy and help make New Mexico a national leader in the field,” said Sanders Moore, State Director of Environment New Mexico.
Senator Heinrich has been a strong advocate for growing the renewable energy economy in New Mexico and has worked with local leaders across the state to secure grants and provide resources to develop solar. His efforts to secure multi-year extensions of production and investment tax credits have spurred major growth in the clean energy industry in New Mexico. The solar industry now employs almost 2,500 New Mexicans and added 1,000 jobs in 2016 alone.
Visit Senator Heinrich’s Solar Toolkit and follow the discussion on social media using #SolarToolkit