First District 2 residents benefit from solar-incentive program

Incentive program makes solar power affordable

SAN ANTONIO – The first homeowners from San Antonio's District 2 are getting their solar panels installed as a result of an incentive program announced months ago.

As Alison Carrasco watched the install of her new solar system Tuesday morning, she said she couldn't help but think about her projected energy savings.

"I'm hoping to save at least half on my utility bill," she said. "The cost of financing this would be the replacement cost of my bill."

The Carrascos applied and qualified for Advanced Solar's incentive program. After the company matched CPS Energy's solar rebate, along with a federal tax credit, Carrasco's total system cost came out to about $6,000.

"We financed for 15 years just to get the smaller payment, but because it's so affordable, we'll probably have it paid off pretty soon," Carrasco said.

Advanced Solar saw more than 200 people apply for the program announced in August, a news release said. The program is meant to serve any customers living in City Council districts 1-5 or any home valued below $100,000, regardless of location.

"Part of the reason we've done this is to really reach out to CPS Energy and show them that these underutilized areas really should be able to take advantage of it," said Don Dickey, Advanced Solar owner.

Carrasco said she would like to see more solar-panel ownership across the Alamo City.

"I'm excited that the information's getting out there on this side of town, because a lot of people just would not be able to afford it without this program," she said.

People who are interested have to apply quickly. Advanced Solar rebates will end when CPS Energy exhausts its solar-rebate funds, which are part of the Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan, also known as STEP. 

A CPS Energy spokesman said the company expects to exhaust funds by early to mid-January.

CPS Energy currently has 6,795 solar customers. So far, the company has paid out more than $80 million in solar rebates.