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,” said Luke Metzger, Executive Director of Environment Texas Research and Policy Center. “By tapping into more of our vast solar energy potential, we can benefit from cleaner air and fight climate change.”
The report shows that solar capacity in San Antonio went from 117 megawatts (MW) in 2016 to 161 MW in 2017, a 37% increase that 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, including solar on homes, businesses, municipal buildings, community solar projects and utility-scale solar farms. With more than 107 watts of solar installed per person in San Antonio, the report also named the city a “Solar Star” 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, including by combating global warming, reducing air pollution, 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, the second highest in the state after Travis County.
San Antonio has the potential to go much further on solar. 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, estimating that San Antonio has 434,000 total rooftops suitable for solar which together could generate 8,100 MW of energy.
Shining Cities is the fifth annual report from Environment Texas Research & Policy Center. Each year, the survey ranks nearly 70 of the nation’s major cities by megawatts of solar energy. The report includes recommendations for cities to expand their solar use, including setting ambitious goals for solar energy adoption, adopting policies to promote or require “solar ready” or zero net energy homes, and installing solar on municipal buildings and schools.
Environment Texas is a statewide advocate for clean air, clean water and open spaces.
About CPS Energy
Established in 1860, CPS Energy is the nation’s largest public power, natural gas and electric company, providing safe, reliable, and competitively-priced service to 804,000 electric and 343,000 natural gas customers in San Antonio and portions of seven adjoining counties. Our customers’ combined energy bills rank among the lowest of the nation’s 20 largest cities – while generating $7 billion in revenue for the City of San Antonio for more than seven decades. As a trusted and strong Community partner, we continuously focus on job creation, economic development and educational investment. True to our People First philosophy, we are powered by our skilled workforce, whose commitment to the community is demonstrated through our employees’ volunteerism in giving back to our city and programs aimed at bringing value to our customers. CPS Energy is among the top public power wind energy buyers in the nation and number one in Texas for solar generation.