Biz Buzz: Green resources include free Blue Bus and solar power

By Tamara Bicknell-Lombardi

With new businesses sprouting up around the Estancia Valley and East Mountains, and with others moving, expanding, or making changes, The Independent is running a regular business feature to keep the community up to date.

Do you have business news? Contact independent@lobo.net to be included in our future story.

The North Central Regional Transit District includes the Blue Bus, a line connecting the Edgewood area to points north.

According to NCRTD director Jim Nagle, in 2004 the state of New Mexico established a handful of regional transit districts, which include Santa Fe, Rio Arriba, Taos, and Los Alamos counties.

The NCRTD covers over 10,000 square miles. There are 25 fixed routes and t23 of them are free to ride, and available Monday through Friday. Only two of the routes are fare-based. One is the weekend express service which goes from Santa Fe to Taos. The other is the mountain trail route and goes from downtown Santa Fe to Ski Santa Fe; both cost $5.

The District has an Edgewood route as well. It picks people up at 5:45 a.m. at the Edgewood Community Center. From there it stops in Moriarty at the Park & Ride lot at 6 a.m., then it stops in Stanley at the corner of N.M. 41 and Kinsell at 6:13 a.m.

From there it stops in Galisteo at the corner of 41 and County Road 42 at 6:32 a.m. and finally stops at St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe at 6:57 a.m. Anyone who is commuting to Santa Fe can catch a free ride each day, and according to Nagle, save hundreds of dollars on gas.

The NCRTD just received a grant of $1.29 million from the Department of Transportation. The money will be used to develop a maintenance facility, fueling station and wash bay at the main office in Española. According to Nagle, they also plan to hire more people. The new hires will mostly be mechanics said Nagle as they will need help servicing the vehicles.

They also plan to buy 10 new buses during the new fiscal year. The fleet is currently 53 buses strong. Bus schedules and maps are available online at ridethebluebus.com or ncrtd.org. They also have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Additionally, they also have an app which lets people track the bus in real time, called MyStop which can be downloaded through the Google Play Store or the Apple Store. There is also a toll free number, 866-206-0754, for more information about routes and schedules.

Positive Energy Solar is an employee-owned company in Albuquerque. Karen Paramanadam, one of those employees, said the business was established in 1997 but she recently relocated to Edgewood.

The 25 employees currently own stock and voting shares. After an employee has been there for one year, they can buy into the company, which allows them to help make decisions. The amount of employees does vary as team members join and leave.

Positive Energy Solar is a full-service energy service and solar integrator. They help businesses and home owners assess their power needs for both existing structures and new structures. The company focuses solely on electrical needs. They offer a detailed analysis for going solar, that includes a financial analysis and the equipment needed to go both go solar and reduce energy bills.

The initial consultation is free and they travel to the customer’s location, which does include the East Mountains. They start by looking at 12 months worth of electric usage. They also make sure the desired location is suitable for solar energy by doing a structural assessment.

The price range varies depending on whether the client is commercial or residential. An average home in the East Mountains has a price range of $20,000-$60,000 and a commercial installation ranges from $18,000 to $2 million.

Residential structures get a 30 percent tax credit based on the installation price for a grid-tied residential system with battery backups. Large commercial installations are eligible for a tax credit in rural New Mexico and qualify for a USDA grant and get a 25 percent reimbursement; Paramanadam said it does depend on the tax structure of the business.

For more information, visit positiveenergysolar.com, and Positive Energy Solar can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube. Call 505-216-4250 to talk to Paramanadam directly or call 505-344-0071.