Albuquerque has a long history in alternative energy. It includes pioneering solar research at Sandia National Laboratories, home builders who for decades have incorporated active and passive solar features, and some of the oldest alternative energy companies in the nation. In fact, engineer Frank Bridgers built the first commercial solar building in the nation here in 1956.
Alternative energy firms include: Zomeworks, a leading developer and manufacturer of passive energy products since 1969; EMCORE, which produces solar cells and fiber-optic products; UniRac, which makes mounting systems for solar panels; and MesoFuel, which makes devices that provide hydrogen for hydrogen fuel cells. (MesoFuel was acquired in 2004 by Intelligent Energy but remains in Albuquerque.)
In 2006, the state Legislature passed a 30 percent tax credit on solar system installation costs for qualified solar thermal and photovoltaic systems, up to a maximum of $9,000.
Alternative Energy Assets
Sandia National Laboratories in 1973 began investigating solar and wind technology, photovoltaics, enhanced fossil fuels recovery, and fusion. Sandia operates the National Solar Thermal Test Facility, which provides engineering data for the design, construction, and operation of components and systems in proposed solar thermal electrical plants. The facility is available for all users.
The lab’s photovoltaic program collaborates with the industry and other government agencies to increase use of photovoltaic power systems. Sandia also conducts applied wind energy research to improve wind turbine performance and reducing costs.