Summer is right around the corner, and we here in New Mexico know how sunny it can be. New Mexico is the second sunniest state in the U.S., so why don’t we put all that sun to good use?

Because we are such a sunny state, using clean solar energy makes a lot of sense. And solar isn’t just good for the environment; it’s good for the economy as well. As a college student, I know how hard it can be to find a job because I’ve been searching and applying for summer jobs for the past few months. If we increase our solar usage, we could create 16,000 jobs in just four years. And because I’m a freshman, those jobs would be available to me and my classmates right after graduation.

The more we go solar, the more jobs we create. Currently, almost 90 percent of energy in New Mexico comes from dirty sources like coal and oil, which pollute our air and water and keep New Mexico from looking like the Land of Enchantment, while we only get 2 percent of our electricity from solar sources. There are policies in place that would raise that percentage to four, but we certainly could do better. If we work hard and get the word out about how cool solar can be, we could potentially reach 10 percent or higher by 2020.Sun and New Mexico go hand-in-hand, and so should New Mexico and solar energy.

Jillian Luranc Sweeney
UNM student