Good news for those of us in the Alamo City: A recent report by the Environment Texas Research & Policy Center announced that San Antonio ranks in the top 10 U.S. cities as leaders in solar energy. The report reveals that in 2013, San Antonio installed 84 megawatts of solar capacity, placing it 6th in the nation and joining cities like Los Angeles and Honolulu in the top 10. This is an impressive level of sustainable energy being brought to residents. To put this number into perspective, consider the fact that just one megawatt of solar energy is capable of powering an average of 164 homes. Our city has seen a tremendous amount of growth in the solar field in recent years, along with strong pushes by our municipal utility companies for local solar power. San Antonio is currently leading the way in solar for the entire state of Texas as well.
Many people know that solar energy saves electricity, but did you know it also helps save water? By converting to solar power, San Antonio has already saved millions of gallons of water–a major benefit for Texas, where we are constantly afflicted by water shortages and droughts.
But in addition to benefiting the earth, solar energy benefits San Antonio residents as well. For one, transitioning to solar helps our city fare better in extreme weather conditions by preventing blackouts and providing us with backup energy if we lose power. City residents can enjoy rebates from CPS Energy as well as collect federal tax credits if they install home solar systems. The CPS Rebate Program alone can end up covering half the cost of a residential solar project. In addition to saving money around the house, solar helps our residents make money, too: the solar industry has brought over 4,000 new jobs to Texas.
The state of Texas itself strongly holds first place in the nation for solar resource potential. We have a virtually unlimited supply of solar energy. The amount of the sunshine that falls on a single acre of land in West Texas could produce the energy equivalent of 800 barrels of oil each year.
Even with our outstanding current solar grades, San Antonio is still drawing up plans for improvement. CPS Energy utilities has set a goal to use renewable energy to meet 20 percent of its electricity needs by the year 2020, and to raise installed capacity to 100 megawatts.
In response to the city’s ranking, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro said, “This recognition demonstrates that San Antonio is making progress in becoming a leader in the New Energy Economy.” It’s clear that San Antonio is recognizing and embracing the incredible advantages of solar power, and we couldn’t be more proud to call this city our home.
Read the full Environment Texas energy report here.