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Affordable Solar expands with LEDA funding

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque-based installation and wholesale firm Affordable Solar plans to double its local manufacturing and administrative headquarters with $625,000 in Local Economic Development Act funding.

The state Economic Development Department, which pledged $500,000 for the expansion, announced the award Thursday morning. The city of Albuquerque, which will act as fiscal agent, will provide another $125,000, pending approval by the city council.

“Albuquerque is becoming an important hub for the alternative energy industry and supporting Affordable Solar means we can help the climate and grow good manufacturing jobs right here in New Mexico,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a prepared statement.

Affordable Solar will add 70 new employees to its workforce over the next five years as part of the expansion. That represents a 50% increase from the 141 employees who currently work for the company, pushing Affordable’s total annual payroll to $12.8 million. And 90% of the new hires will be Albuquerque residents with salaries of $64,000 or more.

Albuquerque also tentatively pledged $7.5 million in industrial revenue bonds to finance the purchase, renovation and rehabilitation of Affordable’s new business site, which includes 3.5 acres of land and an office building at 3900 Singer Boulevard NE. The IRBs are pending approval from the city council.

Affordable Solar is New Mexico’s largest solar installer, serving residential, commercial and utility-scale customers. It’s a regular stalwart on the Journal’s annual Flying 40 list of fast-growing technology companies.

It reported $141.3 million in revenue in 2019, marking a record year for the company, which launched in 1998.

Like other solar companies, Affordable is benefiting from a boom in renewable energy development nationwide. The U.S. solar industry installed a record 19.2 gigawatts of solar capacity in 2020, a 43% increase over 2019, according to the national Solar Energy Industries Association annual report, released in March.

A recent two-year extension of the federal government’s income tax credit for solar installations, plus aggressive pro-renewable policies expected under President Joe Biden, could help drive a lot more growth going forward, said Affordable Solar CEO Ryan Centerwall.

“We see a fairly robust transition to renewable energy and we anticipate there will be federal policy that drives that,” Centerwall said in a statement. “We are very excited to be able to continue to grow and expand in New Mexico as we pursue our mission of transforming the nation’s energy infrastructure.”

 

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