ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Just a few days into the new year and Albuquerque’s 2020 resolution is clear: Go green. First, it was the ban on plastic bags that began January 1, and now, the city is looking to the sun.
Albuquerque is working to reduce its carbon footprint. Within the past few months, it’s added 14 electric car charging stations with plans to buy a fleet of electric cars. The city has switched bulbs for more energy-efficient lights in buildings and along the streets.
With Albuquerque averaging 280 sunny days a year, the city is also taking advantage by adding solar panels and solar-powered carports around town. Now in the new year, officials are putting even more stake in the sun.
“With our solar initiative, we’ve got around 29 sites we are wrapping up here in early spring that will be fully connected, [and] those will add up to 38 sites — sites we’ve already had [for renewable energy],” said CABQ Sustainability Officer Kelsey Rader.
By spring, 15% of the city’s energy use will come from solar energy.
“I think it’s a good idea because I think it’s better for the environment overall, which is better for us overall,” said local Rachel Geary.
The city isn’t stopping there. Officials want to take their 2020 renewable energy goals a giant step further. The city hopes the Public Regulation Commission gives the green light to a PNM program called the Solar Direct Deal. The program would allow PNM to power the city at a set price from a new solar facility that would be built entirely for that purpose.
“If Solar Direct is developed, then that will help an additional 54% of our renewable energy needs, so that will bring the city up to a low 65% of renewable energy by 2021,” said Rader.
People told KRQE News 13 they’re eager for Albuquerque to continue its green mission.
“Oh, it’s very helpful,” said local Angela McHale. “Whatever you think could help the green initiative.”
The city said it could potentially save tens of thousands of dollars when it makes the switch to renewable energy. The PRC meeting to discuss the Solar Direct deal is set for next week.