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San Antonio goes big on solar program

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Photo illustrates how solar panels going up at city facilities can also create shade for outdoor activities
Big Solar
Photo illustrates how solar panels going up at city facilities can also create shade for outdoor activities

The San Antonio City Council voted to go big on solar power with a project that is expected help the city reach its aggressive goal to become carbon neutral by 2040.

City officials claim the on-sight solar project will result in energy and cost savings, shade and weather protection and the creation of local jobs.

Last week, the S.A. City Council approved the $30 million dollar program that will create the largest on-site solar project by a local Texas government. The project will install rooftop, parking, and park canopy solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at 42 city facilities.

The projected electricity generated annually from the 42 sites is expected to offset an estimated 11% of the City’s electricity consumption from its buildings. Many of the installations will be parking canopies that will power on-site municipal operations and provide shade and hail protection to people and vehicles.

It’s estimated the program will create more than 15 full-time jobs with applicants drawn from the St. Phillip’s College Solar Apprenticeship Program.

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

Douglas Melnick, AICP, CNU-A, was named the City’s first Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) in March 2014. As the City’s CSO, Doug Melnick is responsible for the overall leadership of the Office of Sustainability, as well as the City’s sustainability efforts & environmental policy.

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255 or email thesource@tpr.org.

This interview will be recorded Wednesday, November 15, 2023.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi