Sun belt status
About 300 days of sunshine a year makes New Mexico’s most populous city an ideal candidate for solar PV. Albuquerque is one of the only major cities that receives, on an average day, more than six kilowatt hours per square meter of surface area.
Strong local leadership
Last September, the Albuquerque City Council voted unanimously to work towards getting 25% of the city government’s energy needs from solar by 2025. Several municipal facilities in the area have already switched to solar. At least two community centers have installed thin film solar PV systems, using a recent breakthrough in solar technology that has become popular, especially for commercial buildings, because of its simple installation.
Great rooftop potential
According to Environment America, Albuquerque is one of the top cities in the nation for solar PV installed per capita; at the end of 2016, it ranked fifth, after cities such as Honolulu and San Diego. But there’s still a huge opportunity to do more: according to the same report, Albuquerque is also one of the top cities for rooftop solar PV potential in small buildings.
Robust utility engagement
The New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission recently voted in support of a proposed clean energy standard that would call for utilities to reduce CO2 emissions in the state by 4% annually through 2040. Meeting this ambitious goal would entail slashing those emissions by over half during the next two decades, something only possible by dramatically ramping up the transition to renewable energy sources.
Solar-friendly construction styles
The flat roofs of Southwestern, pueblo-style homes are ideal for installing solar PV systems. Instead the panels being secured to the roof itself, they are placed on racks that are then held in place with heavy ballast blocks.
To support cities like Albuqueruq as they harness the power of the sun, the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) and the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) have developed a new in-depth solar photovoltaic (PV) training course for design professionals. This work is part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative.