The idea is not unique to the city or to the nation even, but San Antonio is making headlines with its relatively new Awesome Foundation, which grants a unique project or idea a $1,000 grant each month.
The newest winner will be announced on Tuesday, but it is one of the original projects that is making headlines in the solar world.
It’s a food truck that has put aside its smelly and loud diesel generator on an extended break in favor of solar panels and clean energy.
The Say.She.Ate mobile food truck was granted the first Awesome Foundation grant back in October, making it also the first solar-powered food truck in South Texas, as well.
Nic Jones presented the idea on the foundation’s website, and the 10 trustees who donate $100 a month for the grants approved it.
Jones said of the original truck, "It just created kind of a toxic atmosphere. It was noisy (and) was smelly. We thought that if you could switch that gas generator off and run it off solar power and batteries during the day, then that would make the whole experience better."
The $1,000 grant was matched by solar technology provider, Freedom Solar Power, who help make the truck metamorphosis happen.
Now, not only does the food taste good, the truck can operate virtually anywhere under the sun.
Say.She.Ate truck owner Brandon McKelvey said, "Once we found out that we could pull over on the side of the road and put on the lights and do some dishes, that was huge."
He says they have only just begun exploring the new technology’s impact.
For the trustees of the San Antonio Awesome Foundation, it’s a great example of how a small idea, a little money and a jumpstart can change your community for the better.
Trustee Claudia Loya explained, “The trustees ... donate a hundred dollars each month for a year and it creates a thousand-dollar grant, and we have applications submitted online."
A party is thrown for the top three or four awesome applications to explain their idea, then one is awarded.
"We also have these ... these little community libraries where you take a book and leave a book," she explained.
They have 14 libraries now.
One thousand-dollar grant has also paid to revamp an old van into a pet adoption mobile unit. Another is paying for kids to design a new bike stand.
The concept of Awesome Foundation is in practice all across the world, with some cities like Boston offering two different chapters.
San Antonio’s began this fall with someone floating the idea out with a tweet.
For more information on how the foundation works, visit their website.
For more information on solar projects in San Antonio, visit www.solarsantonio.org.