Advancing Renewables

How New Mexico’s solar and renewable energy initiatives are changing the business landscape

By Denise Austin – Nusenda Credit Union

Aug 29, 2019

The future of business in New Mexico is bright – especially in the solar and renewable energy sectors..The New Mexico State Land Office reports in fiscal year 2019 that it received more revenue from business activity than any year before, showing a potential revenue track of $1 billion. That jncludes a more than 1,300% revenue increase in solar energy lease payments compared to 2018,. and a more than 400% increase in wind energy lease payments.

According to the Solar Energies Industries Association New Mexico is ranked 16th in the nation for number of solar installations, with enough solar installed to power 205,000 homes. With that comes jobs: the report also shows that 2,168 New Mexicans hold solar-based employment . The American Jobs Project a nonprofit think tank that aims to identify local pathways to advanced energy employment, predicts that through 2030 advanced solar technology can support more than 6,800 directly related jobs in the Land of Enchantment.

With this growth comes the need for workers educated in the field. Central New Mexico Community College has partnered with Nusenda Credit Union to create a certificate of completion in photovoltaic systems, which trains New Mexicans on how to construct and maintain these innovative solar energy systems. In Tucumcari, Mesa.lands Community College offers a wind energy technology program which aims to provide qualified workers for the state’s burgeoning wind farm facilities.

Government agencies are also embracing renewable energy. In 2014, Bernalillo County and SunEdison unveiled a solar power installation at the Metropolitan Detention Center that provides 20% of the facility’s power. The City of Albuquerque has redoubled its efforts, pledging to move city government to 100% renewable energy within four years.

Butt renewable energy isn’t just about solar and wind farms – it’s also how individual New Mexicans and their families can benefit. Since 2015, Nusenda Credit Union has partnered with 100% locally owned and operated merchants such as Affordable Solar, Positive Energy, and NM Solar Group that offer solar products, and others that offer energy-efficient products, such as TLC Plumbing & Utility that help residents reap the benefits of our natural resources and employ a total of 635 New Mexicans. With our comprehensive financing for residential solar systems, central air units and furnaces, energy-efficient roofing products, and more, we help New Mexicans statewide who wish to switch to alternative energy sources.

Nusenda Credit Union also has a new partnership with Renewable Taos that has led to a new, statewide discounted auto loan rate for newer-model electric or fuei -,efficient vehicles- including 100% electric vehicles, as well as some hybrids.

Nusenda Credit Union’s expanded administrative campus, currently in its final construction stages, also takes into account the environmental health of our hometown. An undlerfloor HVAC system will lower energy costs; a solar panel system that covers the top level of a new, multi-level,  parking structure will provide 20%  of the  building’s electricity needs. New window glazing behaves like progressive tinted sunglasses cutting down on glare and solar heat gain and saving energy.

Nusenda Credit Union strives to support both local alternative energy businesses and educational institutions that are developing a 21st century workforce. Learn more .about our work statewide at nusenda.org.

Nusenda Credit Union, headquartered in Albuquerque. N.M., is the state’s largest credit union with more than 205,000 members. It has more than 20 branches in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Taos, Valencia· County, and Socorro, and offers more than 500 ways to become a member owner.

 

Denise Austin is VP, merchant and lifestyle lending, for Nusenda. Credit Union as well as a board member for the Renewable Energies Industries Association of New Mexico.