October 18, 2014
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – 41 New Mexico solar businesses issued a letter to the White House Oct. 16, endorsing limits on carbon pollution from power plants and advocating that solar energy become a focal point of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan.
“As solar power installers, manufacturers, designers, aggregators, product suppliers, and consultants, we welcome the EPA’s unveiling of the Clean Power Plan,” reads the letter, organized by the advocacy group Environment New Mexico. “This plan is a critical step toward transforming our energy system to one that protects our health and environment, and is affordable and reliable.”
To address the growing threat of climate change, in June the U.S. EPA proposed its Clean Power Plan, which would require power plants in New Mexico to cut carbon emissions 34 percent by 2030. The plan is open for public comment until Dec. 1 and could be finalized by next year.
States will have the flexibility to meet the limits introduced by the Clean Power Plan as they choose. Businesses signing the letter said the proposal could dramatically accelerate the development of clean energy across New Mexico.
“Existing generation plants are antiquated. Their operations and fuel sources contaminate air and water. The EPA is finally putting an end to this pollution and bringing these plants into compliance will be cost prohibitive. Thousands of solar systems have been installed by utilities, homes, schools and businesses across New Mexico to control long term energy costs and reduce pollution. New Mexico has the technology, industry and political will to switch to renewable energy now,” said Regina Wheeler, CEO of Positive Energy Solar a New Mexico company with offices in Las Cruces, Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
Solar power is on the rise across the United States and the costs for installation are dropping rapidly. In New Mexico, PV installation prices fell 18% from 2013 rates for residential and commercial units. And according to the latest solar jobs census from the Solar Foundation, the solar industry now employs more than 1,900 people in New Mexico alone. As demand for solar energy continues to increase, so will solar jobs, boosting our local economy and providing a sustainable energy source for our state.
“We have customers from all persuasions. It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you’re on, everybody loves solar,” said Gayle Simmons owner of Wentz Electric. “75% of our gross receipts came from solar projects last year. There is a huge demand for clean energy here in New Mexico.”
Environment New Mexico’s counterparts around the country recruited more than 500 solar businesses nationwide to the sign the letter, which was delivered today to the White House.
“The climate crisis demands that we fulfill our vast potential for solar energy,” said Breanna Ryan, campaign organizer with Environment New Mexico, “and the businesses here in New Mexico and across the nation are ready to rise to the challenge.”
Environment New Mexico is a statewide, citizen based advocacy organization working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.