SAN ANTONIO, April 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Solar energy capacity in San Antonio grew an impressive 37% last year, earning the Alamo City a ranking of 6th highest in the United States, according to Environment Texas Research and Policy Center’s new report Shining Cities 2018: How Smart Local Policies Are Expanding Solar Power in America. Standing in front of San Antonio Fire Station 1, Environment Texas joined with CPS Energy and local officials to celebrate the achievement. Fire Station 1 is a participant of CPS Energy’s Solar Host program. It is one of four City of San Antonio facilities that participates in the program that provides a bill credit based on solar output.
“San Antonio is leading the way to a future powered by clean, renewable energy.” That quote came from Luke Metzger. Luke is Executive Director of Environment Texas Research and Policy Center. He added that tapping into more of their vast solar energy potential is more than just a job provider. It can benefit from cleaner air and help fight climate change.
The report shows that solar capacity in San Antonio went from 117 megawatts (MW) in 2016 to 161 MW in 2017. For those that don’t know, that’s a 37% increase. So that then led San Antonio to jump ahead from 8th place in the US to 6th for total solar capacity. There are more than 1400 solar installations in the city. Some of the buildings include solar on homes, businesses, municipal buildings, community solar projects and utility-scale solar farms. So cool.
That equals more than 107 watts of solar installed per person in San Antonio. Given these factors, the report named the city a “Solar Star”. A Solar Star is good for being one of just 18 cities with more than 50 watts per person.
“We are in a moment when progress on renewable energy will come from cities across the country,” said Metzger. “San Antonio has shown the difference that local leaders can make by stepping up and plugging their communities into the clean and virtually limitless power of the sun.”
“CPS Energy continues to be a national leader in solar power as recognized by the Shining Cities report,” said Dr. Cris Eugster, Chief Operating Officer for CPS Energy. “It shows our commitment to renewables and the environment, as one of the largest power companies in Texas.”
“San Antonio has continued to commit to a sustainable future and the progress made in renewable energy generation is a clear indicator of that,” said Doug Melnick, Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of San Antonio. “SA Climate Ready, the City’s first Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, will be focused on reducing our impact on the environment and adapting to a changing climate. How we generate our energy is a cornerstone to making the progress needed for a low carbon future.”
Solar energy helps San Antonio in many ways. First off, by combating global warming, reducing air pollution. More important for others, strengthening the electric grid, and stabilizing energy costs for residents. According to a new census of solar jobs by the Solar Foundation, 836 people work in the solar industry in Bexar County. In Texas, that’s the second highest in the state after Travis County.
So as we should all know, San Antonio is going much further on solar. That’s according to figures from the U.S. Department of Energy, 3,721 MW of solar could be installed just on small buildings in San Antonio. Google’s Project Sunroof goes further. It estimates that San Antonio has 434,000 total rooftops. That’s suitable for solar. Most important, together these roofs can generate 8,100 MW of energy.
Finally, Shining Cities is the fifth annual report from Environment Texas Research and Policy Center. Each year, the survey ranks nearly 70 of the nation’s major cities. Rankings are by megawatts of solar energy. In conclusion, the report includes recommendations for cities to expand their solar use. These included setting ambitious goals for solar energy adoption. They talked about adopting policies. These polices would promote or require “solar ready” or zero net energy homes. Most important, by installing solar on municipal buildings and schools.
SOURCE CPS Energy, Environment Texas