Executive Director, Environment Texas
Executive Director, Environment Texas
SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio has more solar panels than most major American cities, ranking 7th among dozens of metropolitan areas analyzed in a new report. San Antonio’s berth in the “solar sweet sixteen,” just behind Indianapolis and ahead of Denver, was owed primarily to smart contracts between the municipally owned utility, CPS Energy, and solar companies to build multiple solar farms totaling 400 MW, or enough to power over 31,000 homes, once completed.
“By working together, San Antonio’s City Council and CPS Energy have and will continue to set bold goals for renewable energy production and will keep working intelligently to meet those goals in a way that will continue to benefit San Antonio’s economy, environment, and residents.” said Mayor Pro Temp Alan Warrick II.
Los Angeles, San Diego, and Phoenix topped the list for most solar power installations in the Environment Texas Research & Policy Center analysis, Shining Cities: Harnessing the Benefits of Solar Energy in America.
Solar power is on the rise across the country, with another panel or project installed every three minutes last year. Plummeting costs, increasing public concern over global warming and energy independence, and technological innovation have all played a role in spurring the growth of the pollution-free energy source.
Cities are wielding many different policies as tools to expand solar energy development. The city of Denver, for instance, has cut cost and time required to acquire solar energy permits. New York City has partnered with its local investor-owned utility to create designated “Solar Empowerment Zones” where solar can be most beneficial. San Antonio has signed a contract for 400 MW of solar that also included the construction of a solar manufacturing factory in the Alamo City. And cities nationwide are encouraging local lending for solar projects and facilitating community-owned solar.
According to researchers who examined solar power installations in 70 American cities in nearly every state, San Antonio had enough solar energy online at the end of last year to power just over 8,000 homes, just slightly less than Indianapolis. On a solar-per-person basis, San Antonio also scored well, ranking 10th behind Honolulu.
“San Antonio is a star when it comes to solar power,” said Anne Clark, Campaign Organizer with Environment Texas “We hope state leaders and other Texas cities will follow San Antonio’s shining example.”
For the second year in a row, San Antonio easily beat Austin in the analysis, which lagged well outside the top 10 in both total and per-capita solar installed. However, Austin’s City Council recently committed their municipally owned utility to a goal of 950 MW of solar by 2025, enough to power about 130,000 homes.
“Now the ball is in San Antonio’s court.” Said Anne Clark “San Antonio’s City Council and CPS energy have done tremendous work to meet the city’s previously goal of 20 percent renewable by 2020 but to stay ahead of the game, city leaders must build on these accomplishments and set new more ambitious goals for solar.”
With San Antonio on pace to achieve its solar goals ahead of schedule, and with Austin raising its solar goal in December to 950 MW, Environment Texas calls on CPS Energy and the San Antonio City Council to raise the Alamo City’s solar goal to 20% by 2025 and to fight back against state legislators who are attempting to repeal Texas’ highly successful Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).
Environment Texas Research & Policy Center is a statewide advocacy organization bringing people together for a cleaner, greener, healthier future. www.EnvironmentTexas.org