New Mexico Shows Strong Solar Growth in 2014
Friday, Mar 20 2015
WASHINGTON, DC - Doubling the amount of solar capacity added in 2013, New Mexico had the 10th most new solar capacity added last year in the nation, according to the recently-released U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review. The state also finished the year ranked No. 11 among all states in total installed solar capacity.
In 2014, New Mexico added 88 megawatts (MW) of solar electric capacity, bringing its total to 325 MW. That’s enough clean, affordable energy to power nearly 75,000 homes. The report went on to point out that New Mexico’s biggest solar gains came in utility-scale installations, but commercial and residential installations were strong, as well. Of the new capacity added, 67 MW were utility-scale, 16 MW were commercial and 5 MW were residential. Together, these installations represented a $172 million investment across New Mexico – a 32 percent increase over the previous year.
“To put the state’s remarkable progress in some context, the 325 MW of solar installed today in New Mexico is more than our entire country had installed by 2007. That’s an amazing achievement,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “What’s more, we expect 2015 to be another strong year for new PV installations in New Mexico, with more than 90 MW of new capacity projected to come online.”
Today, there are nearly 100 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in New Mexico, employing more than 1,600 people. Notable New Mexico solar projects include:
- Cimarron Solar Facility was developed by First Solar. This photovoltaic (PV) project has the capacity to generate 30 MW of electricity – enough to power over 6,100 New Mexico homes.
- At 50 MW, Macho Springs Solar Project in Deming is among the largest solar installations in New Mexico. Completed in 2014 by First Solar, this PV project has enough electric capacity to power more than 10,200 homes.
- Many large retailers in New Mexico have also gone solar, including Costco and Intel.
- U.S. Foods has installed one of the largest corporate PV systems in the state with 426 kilowatts (kW) of solar capacity at its location in Albuquerque.
In addition to a growing commercial sector, the New Mexico residential market also showed gains last year, with installed system prices dropping by 8 percent – and down a total of 49 percent since 2010. Nationwide, the U.S. residential market added 1.2 GW of installed capacity in 2014, marking the first time that this growing sector surpassed 1 GW of clean, affordable solar. Residential also continues to be the fastest-growing market segment in the U.S., with 2014 marking three consecutive years of greater than 50 percent annual growth.
From an environmental perspective, solar installations in New Mexico are helping to offset more than 417,000 metric tons of harmful carbon emissions, which is the equivalent of removing more than 90,000 cars off state roads and highways or saving 470,000 gallons of gasoline.
“Today, the U.S. solar industry employs 174,000 Americans nationwide – more than tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter combined – and pumps nearly $18 billion a year into our economy,” Resch added. “This remarkable growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). By any measurement, these policies are paying huge dividends for both the U.S. and New Mexico economies, as well as for our environment.”
Celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2015, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.