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Solar Energy Boom, New Mexico 1974

2012 August 27

Beer can houses may have taken the initial spotlight from New Mexico’s chapter in Documerica, but quite a bit more going on. Those ‘Earthships,’ or at least modernized versions, still exists today. Thanks to State of the Environment entries by Dan Conlin, we can enjoy comparison to David Hiser’s photos of this experimental Taos community. See them side by side.

Solar energy is a hot topic nowadays, but in 1974 Boyd Norton covered New Mexico’s original solar boom. Now, it is your chance to show off what’s happening today.

Share the challenge to those nearby or search for images closer to home. The best matching photos by location or theme will be considered for display in the U.S. National Archives Exhibit: Searching for the Seventies set for Washington D.C. from March through September of 2013.

Entries are accepted through State of the Environment on Flickr. Please note which Documerica image inspired you.

CALL FOR PHOTOS: Solar Energy in New Mexico

Exterior picture of the south facing walls of a modular solar-heated home near Corrales, New Mexico. The panels are dropped during the day to allow sun to pass through the glass and heat water in blackened 55-gallon drums, 04/1974 Documerica by Boyd Norton.

Exterior picture of the south facing walls of a modular solar-heated home near Corrales, New Mexico. The panels are dropped during the day to allow sun to pass through the glass and heat water in blackened 55-gallon drums, 04/1974 Documerica by Boyd Norton.

Zome house using solar heating built near Corrales, New Mexico. The modular interconnected units are hexagon shaped with polyhedra roofs. Aluminum construction has an inner core of urethane foam for insulating efficiency. Glass walls covered at night pass sunlight to heat blackened 55-gallon drums filled with water, 04/1974 Documerica by Boyd Norton.

Zome house using solar heating built near Corrales, New Mexico. The modular interconnected units are hexagon shaped with polyhedra roofs. Aluminum construction has an inner core of urethane foam for insulating efficiency. Glass walls covered at night pass sunlight to heat blackened 55-gallon drums filled with water, 04/1974 Documerica by Boyd Norton.

This parabolic mirror system is part of the solar furnace operated for the U.S. Army at White Sands Missile Range Alamogordo, New Mexico. It consists of some 200 slightly curved mirrors mounted in a parabolic pattern to focus the sun's rays to a four-inch diameter circle, 04/1974 Documerica by Boyd Norton.

This parabolic mirror system is part of the solar furnace operated for the U.S. Army at White Sands Missile Range Alamogordo, New Mexico. It consists of some 200 slightly curved mirrors mounted in a parabolic pattern to focus the sun's rays to a four-inch diameter circle, 04/1974 Documerica by Boyd Norton

You can also participate with State of the Environment by sharing any photos you are taking of the landscapes, the people, and the way of life where you are in the world for State of the Environment.

Traveling Exhibit: Through Tuesday, August 28, the exhibit will remain on display at the National Archives in Fort Worth, Texas before it moves on to Atlanta. Hours and Directions for the National Archives southwest office.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

One Response
  1. stan permalink
    February 20, 2013

    i am interesting in zome house design
    “Glass walls covered at night pass sunlight to heat blackened 55-gallon drums filled with water”
    and the Solar Furnace

    great photo and design

Comments are closed.