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solar installation on Stieren Orchestra Hall

The Santa Fe Opera Celebrates Environmental Sustainability

Emily Doyle Moore | | 505-986-5908


The Santa Fe Opera Celebrates Environmental Sustainability with New 431-Panel Solar Power Installation

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Santa Fe, NM — The Santa Fe Opera is pleased to confirm the successful installation of a 214 kW solar power system on its campus north of Santa Fe. Consisting of 431 solar panels, the installations crown the opera’s Cantina at the Dapples Pavilion and Stieren Orchestra Hall, in addition to a ground-mounted array currently under construction. The system will produce over 400,000 kWh of clean energy annually, offsetting half of the opera’s daytime energy use with solar-generated electricity. Shares General Director Robert K. Meya, “In a place where we have such abundant natural beauty, we take seriously our responsibility to care for the land and natural resources. With over 320 days of sunshine a year, Santa Fe is the ideal place to harness the power of the sun and we are absolutely thrilled to take advantage of this sustainable resource.”

The panels will provide clean energy to The Crosby Theatre, rehearsal facilities and the opera’s administrative buildings. Additionally, the photovoltaic network will power the Cantina, where the opera prepares and hosts its popular Preview Dinners. Over the lifespan of the system, the Santa Fe Opera will save more than $1.3 million in electricity costs and reduce its emission of greenhouse gasses by 13 million pounds, the equivalent of planting 100,000 trees. In March, the U.S. Energy Information Administration announced that electricity generated from renewables surpassed both coal and nuclear in the United States in 2022, contributing to 21% of the electricity produced domestically.

Continues Meya, “At the Santa Fe Opera, being an open-air venue, the landscape plays a leading role in each and every one of our productions. Not only do we have a responsibility to care for our natural environment, but transitioning to solar power aids the long-term financial health of the organization, and helps to preserve both the art form and our beautiful setting for generations to come.”

In addition to evaluating its energy consumption, the opera is developing ways of measuring its use of raw materials in its production shops and utilizing recyclable and biodegradable products in all concessions. In the 2023 Season, three productions feature water on stage: Pelléas et Mélisande, Rusalka, and Orfeo. Mindful of conserving water resources and its ongoing commitment to sustainability, the Santa Fe Opera has constructed new PVC piping through its stage floor to transfer the water into holding tanks beneath the theater. These same tanks capture 80,000 gallons of rainwater each summer from the theater roof, and divert it to irrigate the opera’s grounds.

The photovoltaic system was designed and installed by Positive Energy Solar.

About The Santa Fe Opera – The Santa Fe Opera annually draws 85,000 people from New Mexico and around the globe. Nestled atop a mountain vista in northern New Mexico, the company’s iconic Crosby Theatre is open on three sides, allowing visitors to enjoy performances complemented by the elements. Since 1957 the company has presented over 2,000 performances of 179 operas by 91 composers spanning five centuries of opera, creating a legacy of 45 American premieres and 18 world premieres. In November 2022, the company was recognized as “Festival of the Year” at the International Opera Awards.

The mission of the Santa Fe Opera is to advance the operatic art form by presenting ensemble performances of the highest quality in a unique setting with a varied repertory of new, rarely performed, and standard works; to ensure the excellence of opera’s future through apprentice programs for singers, technicians and arts administrators; and to foster an understanding and appreciation of opera among a diverse public.