Sol not Coal: Solarizing Our Communities

OUR NEXT PROJECT WILL SOLARIZE THE PUEBLO DE COCHITI HAHN CENTER

The solarization at the Hahn Community Center of Pueblo de Cochiti will 

1) demonstrate the benefits of solar to over 500 tribal residents of the Pueblo as well as thousands of visitors per year; and 2) reduce the overhead costs of a critical community facility that serves the elderly, children, and families of the Pueblo with important health and cultural programs; and 3) create a replicable model of self-sufficiency and financial reinvestment and repurposing to leverage for additional funding in order to solarize additional tribal buildings; and 4) inspire a transition to solar for tribal communities throughout New Mexico and the United States. More than 500 Cochiti tribal members live in the Pueblo and use the Hahn facility regularly for community meetings, health programs, and cultural doings. 

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ABOUT THE PROGRAM!

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Sol Not Coal is a program to bring brighter possibilities for health, prosperity, and sustainability to the people of New Mexico, in line with longstanding community values.

We partner with diverse allies to create energy transformation. Solar today is cost-competitive, creates local jobs,

avoids huge amounts of water use – all with none of the environmental and health hazards of coal and other fossil fuels. For local nonprofits, farms, and public agencies, solar installation allows them to redirect funds previously spent on utility bills to the vital services they provide – money cycled back into the community, instead of for profit. Our solar installations demonstrate the tangible economic, environmental, and health benefits of solar, and prove that the shift to renewable energy is not only necessary but possible today. 

When we install solar electric systems, we prioritize communities in need or with less likelihood of access to solar power. Thanks to the generosity and widespread support from people all over the nation, these powerful community organizations are next up to join the clean energy ranks: Tewa Women United, Monte Vista Farm, and the Nancy Rodriguez Community Center.

So far, our solarization projects have saved our partners over $150,500, and the money previously spent on coal-fired electricity is now re-purposed into community programs. We’ve avoided over1 million gallons of water use associated with coal energy production and offset more than 15.42 tons of carbon pollution emissions.

SUCCESSFUL COMMUNITY SOLARIZATIONS

1. Tewa Women United Community & Midwifery Center

The Tewa Women United (TWU) Center provides programming space for Native community members to heal and create culturally relevant solutions to family and environmental health issues including issues stemming from intergenerational trauma and environmental contamination. It provides a space for Pueblo families to build positive relationships from its Native midwife training program to its Council of Grandmothers. The Center primarily serves members of the San Ildefonso, San Juan, Ohkay Owingeh, Santa Clara, Nambe, and Tesuque Pueblos. Through the project staff and community members at the center received training on the connection between energy and health, strategies to conserve energy and improve energy efficiency, and the benefits of renewable energy. A state of the art solar electric system was installed that will provide 100% of the Center’s use up to 800kwH/per month of electricity. As a result of the project, the Center will save approximately 100% on electric utility bills, conserve approximately 60,000 gallons of water not used in coal plant turbines, and eliminate approximately 200,000 pounds of carbon pollution that would have otherwise been released in the atmosphere by fossil fuel-based electricity generation. Money that would otherwise be spent on utility bills (an anticipated $350 per month for the TWU building) will be directed toward direct programming and services for the native community.

2. Zona Del Sol/Earth Care

The Sol Not Coal solar electric system at the Zona Del Sol southside youth and community center will provide 4,152 kWH of solar electricity. The Community center houses positive youth development, environmental education, and food access & healthy living programming for predominantly Latino and low-income community members on the underserved southside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The solar installation will save 25,500 gallons of water and mitigate over 89,200 lbs of CO2 over the life of the system. The solar system was successfully installed and on April 26th a community solar celebration was held which engaged over 75 community members and youth as well as two City Councilors and the Mayor of Santa Fe.

3. Monte Vista Farms

4. Pueblo of Tesuque Greenhouses

5. Chimayo Fire Station (2014): 

We partnered with Santa Fe County to install solar at Chimayo – another victory for fire fighters on the front lines of climate change!

6. Santa Fe County Fire Stations (2014): 

We secured $182,000 for the solarization of all County fire stations. The legislative delegation allocated part of their capital outlay dollars to this landmark project.

7. Tesuque Fire Station (July 2013): 

At Santa Fe County’s first solar-powered fire station, the electricity bill plummeted from more than $115 to $8.65 a month, PNM’s base rate, a success that prompted the County’s interest in solarizing all fire stations. Now, PNM sends the Tesuque fire station a check every month! At the May 14, 2013 County Commission meeting, Commissioners Mayfield and Anaya introduced a unanimously passed resolution approving a project with New Energy Economy to solarize the Tesuque Fire Department. Click here to read the full resolution.

8. Taytsugeh Oweengeh Intergenerational Center, Pueblo of Tesuque (Fall 2012): 

The center is home to a senior center, children’s library, full basketball court, and the Tribal Council’s administrative offices.

9. Cerrillos Road Fire Station (2012): 

We partnered with the City of Santa Fe to install solar at its largest station. The money saved on utility bills goes toward protective equipment for firefighters on the front lines of climate change.

10. Crownpoint Chapter House, Navajo Nation (May 2011): 

The solar power system provides 100% of the electricity for this central building. Over its lifetime, the system will save $114,115 on electric utility bills, conserve 139,900 gallons of water not used in coal plant turbines, and eliminate .5 million lbs of carbon pollution.

Transitioning from coal to solar is the smartest financial path forward. Go here to donate toward this effort, and sign up here to be notified of our monthly dinners to support this cause. Join a community of active supporters of the conversion to solar and the fight against climate disruption!

How Solar Works

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