ARRA Projects - Solar for Schools

Competitive Grants Awards for Photovoltaic Energy Systems for Schools: $4.5 Million Statewide

On June 9, 2010, $4.5 million in federal stimulus funds were awarded to 15 school districts for installation of solar photovoltaic electric systems. 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,” Governor Richardson said. “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, CoroMap of Selected School Districtsna, Dulce, Elida, Gallup, Hatch, Los Alamos, Los Lunas, Moriarty, Peñasco, Portales, Rio Rancho, Ruidoso, and Taos (see map at right). Funds will be used to purchase and install a 50-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system at a school in each of the 15 districts.

“Districts can look forward to lower utility bills and students can expect new hands-on learning opportunities,” Secretary of Education Veronica C. Garcia said. The Public Education Department will manage the projects and ECMD 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.

What is a photovoltaic (PV) energy system?
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.

All grants that are awarded must comply with the reporting and record keeping requirements imposed by ARRA, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, and the Public Education Department.

Additional Information
State Purchasing Agreement for PV Systems
: The State of New Mexico has developed a statewide price agreement for PV systems. It is a multi-vendor award available to any governmental agency in New Mexico.

Solar Energy Memo: Grants for PV Solar Energy Systems (from Public Education Department)
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