San Antonio City Council approves largest municipal solar project in Texas

Solar installations will begin in Spring 2024, with an anticipated completion in the Fall of 2026.

A parking lot in downtown San Antonio with a solar panel cover. (Big Sun Solar)

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio City Council approved the largest on-site municipal solar project in Texas on Thursday.

According to a news release, the $30 million project will install rooftop, parking and park canopy solar systems on 42 city facilities.

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“This will be the largest local government on-site solar project in Texas and the second-largest in the nation,” City Manager Erik Walsh said.

A service agreement with Big Sun Solar, the project’s developer, will add progress toward the city’s 2040 goal of zero net energy at all municipal buildings.

The solar utility estimates that 15 full-time jobs will be created as part of the project.

Further, the company is upholding a collaboration with the St. Phillip’s College Solar Apprenticeship Program to train students for jobs in the solar energy field.

Solar installations will begin in Spring 2024, with an anticipated completion in Fall 2026.

Douglas Melnick, the city’s Chief Sustainability Officer, reiterated the importance of this project to the city’s Climate Ready Plan.

“The launch of this project not only supports the City of San Antonio’s carbon neutral goal laid out in the SA Climate Ready Climate Action Adaptation Plan but will be one of the first local government solar deals to combine local and state funding with new federal incentives for clean energy,” Chief Sustainability Officer Douglas Melnick said.

According to the plan, the year 2050 is the current carbon neutral goal for San Antonio.

Those new incentives stem from the Inflation Reduction Act, State Energy Conservation Office, LoanStar low-interest loan and local tax dollars will be used on the project.

The deal is expected to bring energy savings, offsetting 11% of the city’s electricity consumption on the buildings.

The project will also bring solar shade canopies to several parks and community centers around the city.

“In addition to rooftop installations, we’ll be creating solar shade canopies at parks and community centers on areas such as basketball and pickleball courts and skate parks,” Big Sun Solar CEO Jason Pittman said.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg celebrated the project as a positive example on a local and national level.

“The project will reduce the amount of electricity that the city takes from the grid and sets a national example for innovative approaches to reducing carbon emissions and ensuring a healthier future for our community,” Nirenberg said.

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About the Author

Mason Hickok is a digital journalist at KSAT. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a communication degree and a minor in film studies. He also spent two years working at The Paisano, the independent student newspaper at UTSA. Outside of the newsroom, he enjoys the outdoors, reading and watching movies.

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