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City to shift to solar at 10 facilities

Mayor Tim Keller announces plans to install solar panels on 10 city facilities in the next two years as part of an efffort to reduce Albuquerque’s carbon footprint. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The city of Albuquerque hopes to have 10 of its facilities using solar power within the next two years as part of an effort to generate 25 percent of energy consumed by municipal buildings using the renewable source by 2025, officials said Thursday.

“This project is the first concrete step that we’re taking as a city to reduce our city’s carbon footprint,” Mayor Tim Keller said during a news conference.

Chief operating officer Lawrence Rael said seven of the city’s fire stations, the Alamosa Community Center, Ladera Golf Course and the main Albuquerque Public Library will be outfitted with solar panels as part of the project’s first phase.

Keller said the city has obtained $24.8 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds for use on the project.

City Councilors Pat Davis and Isaac Benton sponsored legislation in 2016 that established the goal.

Two percent of the power used by city facilities is currently generated by renewable energy, Davis said.

The completion of the first phase of the project will bring that up to 8 percent.

Last year, the electricity bill for the city’s fire stations was $1.6 million, Davis said.

“Reinvesting that money in solar to make those facilities eventually be carbon neutral and energy neutral for us saves taxpayer money,” he said.

The vendor or vendors selected for the work must use a local workforce.

Davis said he expects first phase work to create 100 jobs for more than a year, plus another 20 permanent positions.