SANTA FE ― Rep. Jeff Steinborn has teamed up with a bi-partisan group of legislators to introduce legislation exploring the idea of putting solar power on more state buildings.
House Memorial 51 directs the General Services Department (GSD) to work with the state Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) and the solar industry to “evaluate the potential energy and cost savings for expanding the use of solar power in state facilities.”
The General Services Department is the central clearinghouse for state government, providing office space, state vehicles, health care policies, and more to state agencies and staff. GSD owns over 750 State Buildings and leases another 2,000,000 square feet of office space. Currently the Department has solar power on only two state buildings.
The goal of House Memorial is to encourage GSD to work with solar energy experts, and the EMNRD to explore the financial viability and cost savings of adding solar and other energy efficiencies on more state facilities.
“With New Mexico’s incredible solar resources and flexible financing options for solar power systems, this is an idea that can pay huge dividends for us. This initiative has the opportunity to potentially save our state millions of dollars in energy costs, while reducing our carbon footprint and creating good jobs,” Steinborn said.
According to the Solar Foundation, the solar industry employs 1600 people in New Mexico.
Matthew Davis, President of the New Mexico Association of Energy Engineers supports the new energy efficiency legislation. “The state is lagging behind some of our counties and cities as many of them are already pursuing energy efficiency and renewable resources in their facilities. This has the potential to save millions of dollars in the long run and alleviate some of the stress on our aging utility grid.”
Declining revenues from the oil revenues have provided an extra incentive to seek cost savings. “Given our tight budget, we need to take advantage of every opportunity to streamline state government. Increased energy efficiency can save us significant money, while providing jobs and a cleaner environment. It’s a tremendous win-win opportunity for New Mexico” Steinborn added.