NMSEA 2015 Annual Report Letter
New Mexico Solar Energy Association
1009 Bradbury SE #35, Albuquerque, NM 87106 · 505-246-0400 · Fax 505-246-2251
Promoting Renewable Energy and Sustainability since 1972
Nov 29, 2015
Dear Solar-Powered NMSEA Member,
It's that time of year again, so I'd like to fill you in on what NMSEA has been up to in 2015.
- Two new faces joined the NMSEA Board of Directors for 2015 – Alan Hill, and Elena Kayak. These two very capable individuals added their energy & experience to that of our veteran Board Members Janet Bridgers, Jim Barrera, Athena Christodoulou, Angela Arriaga, Lloyd Goding, Rolf Nitsche, Wendy Schumann, past NMSEA President Julie Stephens and NMSEA President Gary Vaughn to create a Board that any organization would be lucky to have.
- In 2015, we continued to improve our office "infrastructure" including our website(s), our email system, and our membership management system. I'm happy to report that these new "cloud-based" iniatives are working out great. In early 2015 we switched from paper to electrons for delivery of the NMSEA SunPaper. Full color is a welcome side-effect.
- By now all of you are familiar with our "main" NMSEA website at www.NMSolar.org which contains "classic" NMSEA articles & info along with a lot of additional new content (with more to come); the new email Blast system; the new membership management site at www.nmsea.wildapricot.org/ which allows folks to join, renew, update their membership information, and subscribe to our News Blast & to the SunPaper; and the upgraded Solar Fiesta website at www.NMSolarFiesta.org which includes a full-featured on-line "store" that we have used for booth registration & sales.
- NMSEA hosted an international team from Mexico & South America in May. The visitors were sponsored by the US State Department. The organizers felt that NMSEA would provide these international visitors a good example of a grass-roots Solar/Sustainability non-profit organization. Part of NMSEA's presentation to this group was delivered in Spanish.
- If you're meeting someone at the NMSEA office, heads up! We've moved to the other side of the building at 1009 Bradbury SE. When you come in the front door, turn right & walk to the end of the hall.
- In 2015 the NMSEA Solar Fiesta returned to the CNM Workforce Training Center in Albuquerque on September 26, and it featured a keynote presentation by Solar Historian & author John Perlin. We co-sponsored Perlin's visit with the Albuquerque chapter of the AIA, and the UNM School of Architecture and Planning. This year's Solar Fiesta was extra challenging, but our veteran Solar Fiesta team led by 2015 Solar Fiesta Manager Janet Bridgers made it happen. Congratulate Janet when you see her.
- We added more content to the NMSEA YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/user/NMSolarEnergy - most notably an interview with ASES Solar Pioneer & past NMSEA President Dr. Douglas Balcomb. An outstanding discussion between ASES Passive Solar Pioneer Mark Chalom and Solar Historian John Perlin which was recorded as part of the 2015 Solar Fiesta was also added to the NMSEA video offerings.
- The Renewable New Mexico Video Series episodes were finally offered on DVDs at the 2015 Solar Fiesta! This top quality video series feature interviews with a wide range of fascinating solar-powered New Mexicans. And keep in mind - a full set of Renewable New Mexico DVDs will make a great Xmas present!
- In 2015 the Santa Fe Chapter hosted regular monthly meetings; the Las Vegas Chapter was heavily involved in the big Las Vegas "Peoples Fair" ; the Silver City Chapter continued collaborating with local organizations, "SunChaserizing" area schools, and advocating for more RE; and the Alamogordo Chapter continued their educational work with area schools, and participated in several large community events.
- The 2015 American Solar Energy Society (ASES) Conference was held in July at Penn State University. Solar is booming all across the U.S., but ASES and many ASES state chapters (along with many other non-profits across the country) continue to struggle.
- NMSEA's "voice" continued to be heard – in SunPaper articles, op-eds, and public hearing participation. In part that's our way of responding to the very well-funded "push-back" against renewable energy mandates and initiatives across the country (and here in NM too). We aren't big & powerful, we aren't well funded, we aren't political, and we don't lobby, but we take our Advocacy responsibility seriously.
- PNM withdrew its punitive rooftop solar proposals from its revised 2014 Rate Case, so PV system owners and PV installation companies in NM can breathe a sigh of relief for the time being. We like to think that NMSEA's advocacy outreach efforts helped to bring about that result.
- In summary, 2015 was yet another year of big challenges, serious financial stress, way too many important projects & initiatives, and way too over-worked volunteer Board members and Chapter Leaders. Gee – if this was easy, we wouldn't need the help of dedicated NMSEA members like you.
The 2015 NMSEA Board of Directors election is winding up this week. If you haven't voted yet, please take a few minutes to do so. You can find "everything you always wanted to know" about voting in this year's NMSEA Board of Directors election if you follow this link to the 2015 Election page on the NMSEA "Aficionado" Membership website: https://nmsea.wildapricot.org/page-1817436
Please Renew Your NMSEA Membership if it's close to lapsing. You can renew by snail-mailing a membership form + your check to our office, or better yet, update your membership info & renew on-line using the links on our new website at www.NMSolar.org or going straight to our new "Aficionado" membership site at www.nmsea.wildapricot.org/.
Even though we've reduced our office related expenses significantly, 2015 has been a financially challenging year for NMSEA. If you are, or aspire to be, a solar-powered philanthropist, consider making a year-end (tax-deductible) donation to support NMSEA's educational initiatives and overall mission. You can send us a check via snail-mail, or donate on-line using the links on our new website at www.NMSolar.org or using our new "Aficionado" membership site at www.nmsea.wildapricot.org/. Few organizations are capable of doing more with less.
Stay tuned for a Photon-Powered 2016!
Gary Vaughn, NMSEA President