Local construction and asphalt paving company Constructors, Inc. is today announcing the conversion of its two Carlsbad-based administrative offices to solar energy. This makes the company one of just several private businesses in New Mexico to convert to solar.
According to Brendan Miller, Green Economy Manager for the New Mexico Economic Development Department, the scope of the conversion is unique. "This project is the largest solar installation for a private company in New Mexico, as far as I know," he said.
The government's recent introduction of tax credits and incentives is a major factor in Constructors' ability to go solar, according to Constructors president David Shoup. "At both Federal and State levels, the government has made it affordable for companies like ours to implement these types of programs," said Shoup.
This summer, Constructors' management challenged intern Janea Dickson, a sophomore at University of New Mexico, to create a proposal on the conversion to solar, and by the end of July the proposal was complete. At that time, Constructors decided to move forward.
The new system will generate approximately 8,300 Kilowatt hours per month via a system that uses 216 interconnected 210-Watt solar panels, which cover approximately 1,300 square feet. This nearly eliminates electricity consumption from the company's standard power grid for both offices.
The solar offices' energy will now be produced by a photovoltaic system, which eliminates the need for power to be pulled from the grid during an average day's operation; this includes HVAC, lighting, and power for computers, fax machines, copiers and other office equipment.
The solar panels were manufactured by Sanyo, and Solar Smart Living completed the installation. Constructors' system will be powered by Xcel Energy. Carlsbad-based Murrill Electric handled the electrical interconnection between the offices, the power grid and the solar array.
Constructors has long been committed to reducing its negative impact on the environment. "The asphalt products we produce use up to 35% recycled material, which requires less oil usage and reuses existing material," said Shoup. "Converting to solar energy is another way we can make an impact, because it helps us reduce our dependence on traditional energy sources."
Constructors also recently implemented a battery recycling program at their offices in Carlsbad, Roswell and Hobbs – a project undertaken by intern Katy Cox, a sophomore at New Mexico State University. The company also encouraged reduced paper/plastic consumption by giving away cloth shopping bags on Earth Day last year.
"We are really excited about our Carlsbad offices becoming energy independent," said Shoup. "'Environmental Excellence' is among our top strategic objectives, and the conversion to solar definitely aligns with that commitment."