(San Antonio, TX.) – In a city with so much sunshine throughout the year, producing solar-powered electricity makes perfect sense. Staying on course with its strategic 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 their partnership, solar-paneled covered parking spaces will be constructed throughout the 7th-largest metropolitan community in the United States. This San Antonio project will be known as Big Sun Community Solar.
Go Smart Solar has identified sites throughout San Antonio 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.
“With San Antonio continuing its leadership in solar power, Big Sun Community Solar offers another opportunity for our customers to support renewable power,” said Paula Gold-Williams, President and CEO of CPS Energy. “We are listening to an increasing number of our customers who want more solar products and services, regardless if they rent their homes or if putting panels on their roof is not optimal.”
Big Sun allows customers who rent or don’t have optimal rooftop sunshine to participate in solar generation by purchasing and owning their own panels. This option offers a viable solution to individuals who may otherwise feel like they can’t take advantage of participating in traditional solar programs.
“It’s great to know that we are bringing our community another opportunity to purchase and use solar power,” said Rick Luna, CPS Energy’s Interim Director of Technology and Product Innovation. “Our Go Smart Solar partners are bringing San Antonio a unique and creative project.”
“Even with federal tax credits and CPS Energy rebates, high upfront solar system costs can make it difficult for some of our customers to invest in this technology,” said Robert Miggins, CEO of Go Smart Solar. “We are proud to work alongside CPS Energy to bring an affordable solar option to the entire San Antonio community.”
In exchange for their initial investment, customers will receive automatic credits on their monthly electric bills. These credits will be based on how much actual energy their panels generate. The energy production information will be provided to each customer each month. Big Sun Community Solar is therefore a cost effective and easy way to get into solar. It will be available to any interested customer, regardless of their income. As an added value, soon Go Smart Solar will introduce a down payment assistance and financing program for income-eligible customers.
CPS Energy’s drive for community-owned solar began with Roofless Solar, a 1 MW pilot program started in 2016. The company sold 10,800 solar panels on ten acres of land located in southeast San Antonio within five months from the program’s launch. The success of Roofless Solar prompted the utility to move forward with a request for proposals in February of 2018 for a second community-owned project.
CPS Energy continues to adapt to its customers’ energy needs by offering products that its consumers want and support. The utility first began offering solar rebates to customers in 2008. To date, these traditional solar rebate programs have resulted in more than $129 million in rebates to residential and commercial customers. CPS Energy recently allocated an additional $15 million to solar rebates, which brings the utility’s total investment in solar to $144 million under the Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan (STEP).
As a result, more San Antonians are embracing solar as a clean, green, alternative source of power, with rebate activity up 24% in 2018 as compared to the previous year. San Antonio is the #7 solar city in the nation and #1 in the state of Texas by total installed solar capacity. Per Wood Mackenzie’s 2019 U.S. Solar Market Insight report, Texas ranked #2 in 2018 for solar installations, up from #6 in 2016. Texas was identified in the report as a leader in residential solar development, with nearly 1,000 megawatts of solar capacity installed in the state in 2018.
Details and information on how to participate in Big Sun can be found here.