Solarize Santa Fe Pilot Program Adds 39 New Residential Solar Systems, Expands Renewable Energy
Santa Fe will soon have thirty-nine more homes with solar energy systems thanks to its Solarize Santa Fe pilot program. The program helps homeowners of all income levels overcome the financial barriers of solar installation, and save money on their energy bills, through solar energy bulk-purchasing. The solar power generated from these new installations will eliminate about 220 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year – the equivalent to driving 547,000 less miles per year or planting 3,600 trees per year.
“The fight against climate change is urgent and local. Here in Santa Fe, Solarize Santa Fe has made a real impact, helping even more of our residents go solar. And it supports equity, helping those who may face financial challenges to solarize on their own,” said Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber.
The pilot program, open to any homeowner in the city limits, launched in September and reached its contract-signing deadline on March 1. To help reach homeowners within Santa Fe who could benefit from this bulk-priced program, the Solarize team partnered with Santa Fe Public Schools (SFPS) – whose workforce’s demographics reflect those of the city overall – for the initial outreach campaign. “It's wonderful to see that members of the SFPS team were able to take advantage of this partnership,” said SFPS Board of Education President Kate Noble. “Our folks know how critical it is to protect our planet for the kids in our schools and all future generations. We welcome every opportunity to do more."
To create the pathway for low-cost entry into renewable energy, the City of Santa Fe worked with the Sierra Club and the Coalition of Sustainable Communities - New Mexico to package low-cost solar installation with low-interest loans. They selected a featured solar installer, Sol Luna Solar, through an RFP process, and Sol Luna offered discounted prices for this program. The team also encouraged local credit unions to create solar loans with lower interest rates. Residents who participated in the pilot program experienced a 7% discount from the state average rooftop solar price, making solar more affordable for them and saving over $600,000 across all contracts over the 30-year solar panel lifespan.
The City was one of 20+ local governments across 15 states participating in a Solarize cohort led by RMI and the World Resources Institute. "Sante Fe's Solarize campaign had one of the highest conversion rates of resident sign-ups to solar PV contracts across all cities participating in the Solarize cohort,” said Ryan Shea, Senior Associate at RMI. The collective effort of this cohort has driven 650 contracts, and over 5,650 kW of residential solar, with 26% of contracts in low- and moderate-income households.
Due to the success of the Solarize pilot, the City is now working with program partners to institute a larger program that will help even more homeowners go solar this year.
Contact: Neal Denton, Sustainability Officer, (505) 955-2229, firstname.lastname@example.org