Bringing Solar Home
Solar San Antonio is a cutting-edge non-profit organization, founded in 1999, committed to the deployment of solar energy in San Antonio and beyond. The imminent environmental challenges are large, but solutions such as solar energy are here, so Solar San Antonio works hard to incorporate solar into the new energy economy. Through its innovative campaign, called “Bring Solar Home,” Solar San Antonio connects interested home and business owners to the local solar industry and by working with banks on creative financing schemes, helps make it as easy as possible for people to go solar. Through years of working closely with the local electric utility, CPS Energy, Solar San Antonio has managed to secure a generous rebate for solar installations and establish a relationship between the solar industry and the local utility that may well be unique in the country.
The “Bring Solar Home” campaign is a free program for participants with no cost impacts on local utility ratepayers. As of 12/1/13, the campaign was responsible for 150 PV installations, an investment of over four and a half million dollars, representing 1.23 megawatts. This is 12.5% of total installations in CPS Energy’s service area. Had Solar San Antonio actually done the installs, the organization would be the second largest solar company in San Antonio. Solar San Antonio created a model that is known throughout the country. The results of the campaign to date have led to local, state, and national awards for the program and/or the organization.
Recently, the rapid growth of the solar industry caused energy utilities throughout the country to try to impose restrictive fees on solar adopters. The situation, in San Antonio, however, has been much more collaborative. The utility and solar industry are working together on a solution that allows the solar industry to continue growing, while maintaining high revenues for CPS Energy. This collaboration is largely due to the presence of Solar San Antonio. The outcome of this collaboration may very well serve as a model for utilities nationwide.