Founder of homegrown solar company to accept entrepreneurial award May 8

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – While many have said that the New Mexico business climate is not the best, and some have called it the worst, one young entrepreneur says this is the best state in the country to start a business, and he went out and proved it with his solar energy business.

Ryan Wallace, the winner of the 2019 Small Business Association Entrepreneurial Success Award, started his homegrown solar product and installation business in 2015 and recently sold it to his employees after building it into a huge success in Albuquerque and the southern part of the state.

“People would ask, ‘Why New Mexico? It’s a terrible place for business,’” said Wallace. “But for starting a business, New Mexico is the best state in the country.”

It wasn’t always easy for Wallace, who grew up in Albuquerque and had several jobs before starting the solar company. He did landscaping, cleaned carpets, sold cars, worked in pest control, and alarm systems, to name a few. All that experience got him ready for starting his own business.

“All of that gave me good experience, but it wasn’t right,” said Wallace.

In the company’s first year, Wallace sold solar panels and installation to customers out of the garage in his rental house, working 70 to 80 hours a week, and clocking hundreds of hours on the highways and byways of New Mexico serving customers across the state.

“In the first year I sold every project personally,” said Wallace. “I wanted to be sure proper expectations were met on each job.”

Soon after, NM Solar Group had outgrown the garage and Wallace, along with his business partner Matt Schmutz (whom Wallace calls “the best electrician in the biz”), made the move to a rented commercial space in the heart of Albuquerque.

By 2016, in only its second year of business, the company did $3 million in sales and expanded to southern New Mexico, purchasing a building for a new office in Alamogordo.

“We have installed well over 100 systems in that part of the state,” said Wallace.

The company then expanded to Las Cruces and El Paso, and most recently, to Roswell. In their third year of operation, the company did over $9 million in revenue.

As the business continued to grow, Wallace decided that the best thing for the longevity of the company was for it to become employee owned and, on Oct. 31, 2018, he sold NM Solar Group to the people that helped build it—his 60 employees.

Now every NM Solar Group employee has a retirement plan and an ownership interest in the company as part of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

“For me it was the only choice,” said Wallace. “We got to keep the culture and people in place. It was a win for everyone.”

And NM Solar Group is here for the long-haul. The company is projecting $20 million in revenue this year and will continue to operate in New Mexico. With the money from the sale of the business, Wallace purchased warehouses for the company in Las Cruces, Roswell, and Rio Rancho.

“I have been surrounded by great people,” said Wallace. “NM Solar Group has attracted amazing talent and together we have done incredible things, right here in New Mexico.”

Click to search the Beat Click to search the Beat

Get Updates Three Times a Week

Welcome to the Update! You will receive emails 3 times a week with links to recently posted articles.


You can unsubscribe anytime. We never share or rent your email to anyone.

Submitting to the Beat

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as for the editor.

Advertising: Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ads on the Beat.

Classifieds: We have changed Classifieds to a cheaper and shorter option. Check periodically to see if any new ones have popped up. The former software failed us, so it's just a category now, with prices posted. Send your information to and we will post it as soon as we can. Instructions and prices are on the page.

Editor's Notes

Here for YOU: Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News. Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—

Feel free to notify if you notice any technical problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.  The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  

Compliance: Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised. 

Content on the Beat

WARNING: All articles and photos with a byline or photo credit are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Disclaimer: If you find errors in articles not written by the Beat team but sent to us from other content providers, please contact the writer, not the Beat. For example, obituaries are always provided by the funeral home or a family member. We can fix errors, but please give details on where the error is so we can find it. News releases from government and non-profit entities are posted generally without change, except for legal notices, which incur a small charge.

NOTE: If an article does not have a byline, it was written by someone not affiliated with the Beat and then sent to the Beat for posting.

Images: We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. 

New Columnists: The Beat continues to bring you new columnists. And check out the old faithfuls who continue to provide content.

  • The Beat has a column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues.

Newsletter: If you opt in to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option at the top of this page, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Go to Top