ALBUQUERQUE — Gov. Susana Martinez announced Wednesday that 300 new jobs have become available as a result of Facebook coming to New Mexico. Affordable Solar, an Albuquerque company, will invest $45 million to build three cutting-edge solar farms that will help support Facebook’s massive high-tech data center, which is expected to create thousands of long-term construction jobs in the first phase alone.
“Not only is Facebook’s massive data center expected to create thousands of long-term construction jobs – it’s also sending a message to companies across the globe that New Mexico is open for business,” Martinez said. “Bringing Facebook to New Mexico was a big step in the right direction, but we have to continue building on our progress to diversify our economy and create even more jobs for our families.”
Martinez added, “This is a yet another reason why we have to continue to protect our economic development tools – like our jobs fund. Because of our incentives, companies like Facebook, Safelite and Keter Plastics are calling New Mexico home.”
The Affordable Solar project demonstrates Facebook’s commitment to buying local materials and hiring local employees as they prepare to build and staff a facility that will span more than half a million square feet in its initial phase.
“PNM is committed to renewable energy, and we’re excited to be working with Affordable Solar to expand our solar capacity and power the new Facebook data center,” said Pat Vincent-Collawn, chairman, President and CEO of PNM Resources. “This project is an example of what we can do in New Mexico when we work together toward the common goals of growing our economy, supporting local small businesses and creating good jobs for our community.”
Facebook will power the facility with 100 percent renewable energy created by new solar and wind farms. The renewable energy supply will initially be composed of three new solar facilities built by Affordable Solar. The first solar farm is projected to be completed by January 1, 2018, with the other two following close behind. Facebook’s new high-tech data center is projected to be online in 2018.
“Thanks to the strong partnership we have with PNM and our local leaders, we are seeing even more investment in the people of New Mexico,” said Economic Development Secretary Matt Geisel. “The impact of Facebook’s facility is tremendous for New Mexico, not only bringing good jobs but attracting further high-tech investment to our state by signaling that New Mexico is open for business.”
“The solar industry is flourishing in New Mexico, not only because of our abundant sunshine, but also because of strong support from PNM, local communities and our state policy makers, especially Governor Martinez,” said Kevin Bassalleck, President of Affordable Solar. “The growth of solar benefits everyone, providing local jobs, economic growth and clean energy that together help improve the quality of life in New Mexico.”
Facebook cited the state’s competitive business climate, strong workforce, commitment to infrastructure investment and opportunities for renewable energy development among the reasons the company selected New Mexico for the project.
Since 2011, Martinez has worked with the Legislature to cut taxes 37 times, including lowering the state’s business tax rate by 22 percent. The State has also invested in growing a robust job training incentive program to assist companies looking to grow or relocate in New Mexico, as well as established a sizable closing fund to better compete with other states for new jobs and business investments.