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Albuquerque Shines with Solsmart’s Gold Designation

Albuquerque scores 330 total points, more than the 200 needed for National designation

August 4, 2022

The City of Albuquerque has been awarded Solsmart’s Gold Designation for their strides in solar energy use. Solsmart is a national designation program that recognizes cities, counties, and regional organizations that foster the development of mature solar markets. By acquiring gold, the City has taken a giant step forward, and is blazing the path towards making Albuquerque a national leader in renewable energy.

The City supports energy policies which are implemented to ensure a clean emissions future. The transition to a renewable energy economy is already underway, and this designation reflects the calls to action from Albuquerque’s frontline communities captured in the 2021 Climate Action Plan. Solsmart reviewed Albuquerque’s performance in speedy solar permitting reviews, amount of solar installed at City facilities, solar inspection and training processes, and accessible solar resources to residents in its qualification criteria.

“I am so proud of the City’s work to date in embracing renewable energy generation,” said Officer, Kelsey Rader. “It is just one part of the work we have done to combat climate change in addition to adopting clean transportation and advancing energy efficiency.”

This gold designation shows Albuquerque has the natural resources, policies, and partnerships necessary to become a national leader in renewable energy. The City’s Sustainability Office partnered with the Planning and Municipal Development departments to achieve this designation.

“We want our residents to have all the tools and help they need to make an easier transition to renewable energy,” said Alan Varela, Planning Director. “Our staff is fully equipped to issue permits and inspect solar arrays quickly and efficiently.”

“Renewable energy is the future for everyone in Albuquerque,” said Saif Ismail, Energy and Sustainability Manager. “The City is becoming a national leader in solar and is encouraging a greater solar market.”

These sustainability efforts are a model for developing renewable energy solutions, while developing new economic opportunities by leveraging New Mexico’s abundant solar resources. The ranking builds on the Keller administration’s substantial work to date on sustainability, including:

  • Utilization of 88% renewable energy for municipal operations with the completion of the Solar Direct project,
  • A $2.7 million federal grant to bring the first electric buses to Albuquerque,
  • Signed the Paris Agreement, after President Trump pulled out, committing the city to climate action,
  • Installation of 38 solar projects at city-owned buildings,
  • Ranked as 4th highest large U.S. City for most solar installed per capita by Environment America’s Shining Cities 2022 Report,
  • Launching of the Mayor’s Energy Challenge to support local businesses reduce energy use,
  • Won Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge with funding for sustainability efforts,
  • Transition to more sustainable LED street lights citywide,
  • Provided over 200 homes with free energy audits and upgrades in partnership with PNM, Partnership for Community Action and Prosperity Works,
  • Procurement of the all-electric vehicles for the City fleet, and enactment of a “Zero Emissions First” fleet vehicle adoption policy,
  • Achievement of LEED for Cities Silver certification,
  • Ranked 31st out of over 100 U.S. Cities for overall sustainability on the 2021 City Clean Energy Scorecard by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE),
  • Installation of 20 electric charging stations with 36 charging ports across City facilities
  • Launch of the 2021 Climate Action Plan.