An American Jobs Project report has found that solar jobs in New Mexico could more than double by 2030. Projected growth of the New Mexico solar industry over the next 12 years could increase solar jobs to 6,800 from the current figure of about 2,500.
“New Mexico has already made significant investments to tap into the $1.4 trillion global advanced energy industry through natural gas and wind projects. Our research shows that the state can continue to capitalize on this opportunity by becoming a hub for advanced solar technologies,” explained the director of the American Jobs Project and co-author of the report, Kate Ringness.
State and regional solar job counts are significant because they reveal local industry conditions. National numbers are important too, but solar power growth is greater in some states and much slower in others. The states with faster growth and more solar power jobs can be examples to the ones which are struggling.
Right now there are about 173,000 homes in New Mexico with solar power systems. Almost 700 megawatts (MW) of solar power has been installed in New Mexico, but that figure may reach nearly 1,700 MW by 2023.
New Mexico has a very high solar power potential, and this fact is important for a number of reasons, including the fact that solar uses very little water compared to coal power plants. Tremendous amounts of water are used at these facilities. Obviously, having to utilize huge amounts of water for electricity production in a water-constrained region is a problem.
Natural gas and coal are the leading sources of electricity generation in New Mexico right now. The state is one of the top natural gas producers and sells some of it to Texas and Arizona.
New Mexico is also blessed with natural wind and solar resources, so its renewable energy future looks very promising. New planned electricity generation will come in the form of natural gas or renewables, and the state has indicated interest in selling some electricity from renewables to neighboring states.
In fact, the Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA) has a goal to sell 5,200 MW of renewable electricity to them.