The report, released Tuesday in partnership with the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, says the state could nearly triple its solar-related jobs from about 2,500 now to 6,800 over the next 12 years through a comprehensive, cluster-development approach that helps propel homegrown research, development and commercialization of advanced solar technology.
That means focusing on the innovative science and engineering breakthroughs already emerging from New Mexico’s national labs and universities to develop next-generation photovoltaics that could eventually turn windows, buildings and even everyday fabrics into electric generators.
The market for that type of innovation is growing exponentially, and New Mexico is well-poised to become a key player as the solar industry moves beyond traditional PV cells and panels, said American Jobs Project director Kate Ringness, who co-authored the report on New Mexico.
“Our research shows that the state can continue to capitalize on this opportunity by becoming a hub for advanced solar technologies,” Ringness said. “This report offers a practical roadmap for expanding advanced solar manufacturing in New Mexico to create good-paying manufacturing jobs in a sector that’s growing worldwide.”
Many local startups are already working to market next-generation technologies conceived in New Mexico’s labs and universities. Albuquerque-based mPower Technology Inc., for example, is using microscale solar cells created by Sandia National Laboratories to make lightweight, flexible PV sheets for use in everyday products and structures. Ubiquitous Quantum Dots is using technology from Los Alamos National Laboratory to create an electric-generating coating for windows that can channel photons from sunlight to PV cells attached to window frames.