CPS Energy proposes changes to solar repayments

Proposal would affect all customers after April 27


At Tuesday's monthly stakeholder's meeting, CPS Energy's board proposed reducing the buyback rate of energy from solar power customers in the future.

The proposal would affect current customers with solar photovoltaic systems greater than 25 kilowatts and all customers who begin the installation process after April 27.

"They're not sharing the infrastructure costs, so right now, all the non-solar customers like yourself are paying for infrastructure costs where as the solar customers are not," said CPS Energy spokesperson Christine Patmon.

The proposed rate change would drop from the current 9.9 cents per kilowatt hour to 5.6 cents.

Lanny Sinkin, Solar San Antonio's executive director, said installers have raised concerns over the decrease, which they said would add years to the payback time for commercial and residential users.

"We are already seeing cancellations and suspensions of contracts. We had one $3 million contract canceled, one $2 million contract suspended because they changed the numbers," said Sinkin. "I think it's sort of ham-handed the way they dealt with it and that they had no input from us. We wish they had sat down with us and some of the solar installers before they started announcing it publicly and spreading it around."

"On a cloudy day like today, a rainy day like today, they need the energy," said Patmon. "So they need the infrastructure that is able to deliver that energy. At nighttime they still need that infrastructure and they need the infrastructure to deliver the energy to us."

CPS Energy plans to have a public feedback session on May 3 but has not announced the time nor place.

Sinkin hopes to meet with solar energy stakeholders next Wednesday as well as with member of CPS Energy to extend the conversation.

For a list of recent stories Charles Gonzalez has done, click here.


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