The sun shines more than 300 days a year here in New Mexico, and just the other day the wind in the Santa Fe area clocked over 35mph. Yet a staggering 95% of our state’s electricity is generated by coal and gas (over 72% is coal alone).
Of course the fossil fuel industry spends its enormous profit-powered political clout blocking the shift to renewable energy. Fortunately for folks like us, federal and state subsidies are just enough to make it affordable to take change into our own hands.
This week here at Rancho Gallina, 24 Albuquerque-made solar panels will start generating power and turning our electric meter backwards. We installed a 5.76kW solar system that, combined with geothermal heating and cooling, will dramatically reduce our carbon footprint and take most of the ranch off fossil fuels. And, again thanks to the subsidies, the systems will pay for themselves before their warrantees expire.
Unfortunately, Albuquerque no longer produces those panels. Facing competition from a heavily-subsidized Chinese industry, very little US solar manufacturing remains: evidence that we are in dire need of a comprehensive energy policy. Still, it feels great to take action to retrofit a drafty 1930’s ranch with state-of-the-art renewable energy technology.
As New Mexico braces for a horrendous fire season due to our climate-change-driven epic drought, we feel even more urgency to make Rancho Gallina a model of sustainability in this fragile desert environment. Stay tuned as we keep on greenin’!