Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Gov. Bill Richardson Announces $4.5M in Stimulus Funding for 15 Solar Panel Projects at NM Schools
Governor Bill Richardson today announced that $4.5 million in federal stimulus funds are now available to 15 school districts in New Mexico for installation of solar photovoltaic electric systems. He said the projects will create jobs and allow schools to invest in energy-saving technology.
“These new solar systems will not only create jobs and help these schools reduce their utility bills, but the entire process -- from installation to monitoring the energy and cost savings -- will serve as an invaluable educational tool for both students and teachers,” Richardson said in a statement released today. “We want these projects to inspire students to pursue education and jobs in New Mexico’s emerging green economy.”
The 15 school districts were selected through a competitive application process and include: Belen, Carrizozo, Corona, Dulce, Elida, Gallup, Hatch, Los Alamos, Los Lunas, Moriarty, Peñasco, Portales, Rio Rancho, Ruidoso and Taos. Funds will be used to purchase and install a 50-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system at a school in each of the 15 districts.
According to Education Secretary Veronica C. Garcia, “Districts can look forward to lower utility bills and students can expect new hands-on learning opportunities."
The Public Education Department will manage the projects and the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department will provide technical assistance.
“We are pleased that the renewable energy projects at these schools will provide jobs for New Mexicans at a time when they are greatly needed,” said Jon Goldstein, Cabinet Secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. “And we are happy to see so many additional projects around the state that help us to further reduce our dependence on non-renewable resources.”
The program will be funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment State Energy Program administered by the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department and supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. Through Recovery Act funding, the State Energy Program is overseeing, to date, 39 other renewable energy and energy efficiency projects around the state, including the recently completed statewide traffic light project that replaced 150-watt incandescent bulbs with 6- to 12-watt LED bulbs.
As the Governor's office explained, a photovoltaic energy system is a solar electric system that converts the sun’s abundant energy into clean, reliable, and affordable electricity. Multiple components, like solar modules, structure mounts, and inverters that convert solar energy into usable electricity, make up the system. As a renewable energy technology and a domestic source of energy, it has numerous environmental benefits and contributes to the nation's energy security.