In a city like sunny San Antonio, producing solar-powered electricity makes perfect sense. Staying on course with our Flexible Path, CPS Energy has partnered with Go Smart Solar, a local San Antonio firm, to operate and maintain 5 megawatts (MW) of community-owned solar power. Through this partnership, solar-paneled covered parking spaces will be constructed throughout the city in a project known as Big Sun Community Solar.
Go Smart Solar has identified specific sites for these carports covered in solar panels. Customers will have the opportunity to select the number of panels they would like to purchase, with the production from their panels going to reduce their monthly electric bill. Go Smart Solar will help customers determine the number of panels that best suit their needs, finances and energy consumption.
Customers have already jumped at the opportunity to participate in this special project. We sat down with Aaron Olivarez , who just recently purchased some panels for his family, to talk about why he’s so excited about Big Sun.
(This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.)
Q: How did you learn about Big Sun Community Solar?
A: Our family first learned about Big Sun while logging in to pay my CPS Energy bill. After paying our bill I navigated to the Big Sun website to learn more about the program. Their website was so fast and easy to use. While filling out the quote, I provided my CPS Energy account number and they pulled my energy usage data from the last year to calculate the number of panels I would need to offset my average energy consumption. Then a couple of days later, I saw their ad on a billboard while driving home from work; it was a sign.
Q: What originally piqued your interest in the program?
A: We’ve been interested in Big Sun before it even existed. I’ve always been a proponent for green energy. A couple of years ago, a similar concept was introduced to San Antonio with roofless solar. I filled out their form and got a quote, but the timing was not right as we were expecting our first child and there were a lot of unknowns. When I saw this new opportunity offered, I had to jump on and put my money where my mouth is. On top of that, Big Sun has partnered with River City Federal Credit Union to offer financing, which added even more of a value for us because we wouldn’t have to take such a big chunk of out of our savings.
Q: What excites you most about participating in Big Sun Community Solar?
A: Living in Texas, we get so much sun a majority of the year that it’s crazy not to take advantage of that. We live in an older home and have two large trees blocking our roof, so solar at our house was not an option. On top of that, we’re running out of room, so we’ll be looking to move in a couple of years. With Big Sun and CPS Energy, when we move we can move our array with us. We don’t even have to worry about maintaining them or if they are ever damaged, because they are insured.
It’s so exciting to embark on this 25-year commitment to renewable energy. I really like that Big Sun takes it a step further as far as usefulness, in that the panels we’re purchasing will provide shade for people parking at the installation site. Big Sun has made it so easy to invest in solar energy. I’ve been impressed from the very beginning with their transparent purchasing experience. I’m super excited to get my panels up and running, generating electricity, and start to see the credits in my CPS Energy bill. Big Sun Community Solar is a win-win in all aspects.
For more information and to sign up for Big Sun Community Solar yourself, click here.