Solar Manufacturing Boost for New Mexico

Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) are propelling investments and commercialization of clean energy in every state they have been enacted in. New Mexico is just one recent example. At the Financing the Future of Energy workshop at the North American Energy Summit, four companies announced the signing of an agreement to locally manufacture solar panels and generate solar electricity in the rural communities of northern New Mexico.

Albuquerque, New Mexico – April 16, 2004 [] The companies are Kit Carson Electric Cooperative and SolarPort, both of Taos, New Mexico, Spire Corporation of Bedford, Massachusetts, and New Energy Capital of Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. Governor Bill Richardson endorsed the project during an announcement of several energy initiatives at the workshop. “We are pleased that this Northern New Mexico solar project brings renewable energy and opportunities for economic development to the communities of northern New Mexico,” Richardson said. Under the agreement solar panels will be assembled at a Spire Corporation facility to be located in Taos and installed in various locations around northern New Mexico. New Mexico utilities, including Kit Carson, will purchase the solar-generated electricity. Spire recently developed a similar solar panel assembly plant in collaboration with the City of Chicago, Commonwealth Edison (the local utility), and the State of Illinois. “We see this as a logical next step to bring to New Mexico some of the clean energy and economic benefits we’re seeing in Chicago,” said Roger G. Little, President & CEO of Spire. Spire Corporation is one of the world’s major supplier of solar module manufacturing equipment, providing equipment to more than 150 facilities in 42 countries worldwide. The agreement will also help New Mexico utilities meet the state’s new Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) legislation, requiring the state to purchase more electricity from renewable energy sources. The parties also agreed to support the creation of PowerTaos! — an education, public awareness and marketing campaign to increase the use of solar energy and encourage involvement by local, State and federal agencies, local businesses, non-profit organizations, national laboratories, and the utility customers of northern New Mexico. The project is expected to create initially about 30 jobs in solar panel assembly, installation and related work. The prospects for additional jobs are significant as New Mexico utilities buy increasing amounts of renewable energy pursuant to the state RPS and the extra credit provided for solar power under the new law. “We are excited by the momentum we see in New Mexico for solar energy, and by Governor Richardson’s leadership in bringing rural communities, utilities and entrepreneurs together to realize the benefits of solar energy in the state,” said Dan Reicher, President of New Energy Capital. Reicher was formerly Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. New Energy Capital finances, owns and operates renewable energy and distributed generation projects.
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