San Antonio solar energy industry remains at odds with CPS Energy

Solar industry meets to discuss next move

Author: Justin Horne, Meteorologist/Reporter, jhorne@ksat.com
Published On: Apr 17 2013 06:09:44 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 17 2013 06:32:48 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

CPS Energy announced Wednesday that the period in which solar customers can get grandfathered at a higher rate for the energy they produce, has been extended until May 31. 

Thereafter, rates are expected to be cut. 

The announcement came just before a meeting by San Antonio solar industry leaders to discuss the next course of action, as frustrations with CPS flared.

"The basic message I got. … That’s the best we can do for now,” said Lanny Sinkin, executive director of Solar San Antonio, while speaking to a large group of solar industry leaders in San Antonio.

Sinkin was referring to his communications with CPS Energy.

At the meeting, possible solutions were presented, along with a discussion with lawyers. Solar customers, believed Sinkin, were being wrongfully targeted.

"They made their investment decision and you come in and say, “I’m going to pay less that I told you.” We don’t think that's right, we don’t think that’s fair, we don't think it’s legal," said Sinkin.

Not legal, because he saw the action as a rate increase; a measure that would need a vote from City Council. 

It also came as somewhat of a surprise to the solar community, after what Sinkin believed was an ongoing, peaceful transition to alternative energy.

"We can't be interrupted by sudden programs that are launched without warning,” added Sinkin.

Sinkin believed the action could be part of a larger issue nationwide; an effort to keep the solar energy industry from expanding.

"There's a national campaign against distributed generation solar being orchestrated by the Edison Electric Institute, the old paradigm utilities, who don't like it that their customers are embracing solar and energy efficiency and not giving them as much money,”

The group hoped to meet with CPS for further dialogue. 

Meanwhile, CPS will be hosting a SunCredit input session May 3.

For a list of recent stories Justin Horne has done, click here.