San Antonio ranked as a top 10 city in the nation for its solar energy capacity, according to a new report from the Environment Texas Research and Policy Center.
Los Angeles finished first, followed by San Diego, Phoenix, Honolulu, San Jose, New York City, San Antonio, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, and Denver.
Austin ranked 15th. Dallas and Houston did not make the top 20 list released on Tuesday.
San Antonio’s city-owned utility CPS Energy reports solar energy capacity in the city grew by nearly 26 percent in 2018, when compared to 2017. Still, less than 2 percent of the utility’s electric customers use solar energy -- 15,000 out of 804,000 total customers.
CPS Energy Chief Operating Officer Cris Eugster said the future of solar does look bright because more consumers have been installing solar panels without the lure of rebates and tax incentives.
“We are seeing customers put up solar on their homes and businesses without a rebate, and so that’s starting to happen. We didn’t see that in the past. It was always rebate driven, so now customers are actually putting solar on their rooftop because of economic reasons, because of the environment,” Eugster said.
Eugster said solar is a perfect technology for San Antonio, known for its frequent sunny skies.
“What’s interesting about solar is it really lines up very, very nicely with our demands,” he said. “So when it’s a hot, August afternoon and air conditioners are running, the sun is shining and solar is producing.”
Representatives from CPS Energy, Environment Texas, and District 5 City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales announced San Antonio’s #7 solar ranking during a morning news conference at the Palm Heights Community Center on the city’s southwest side. The community center is one seven city-owned buildings taking part in CPS Energy’s Solar Host program, which provides a bill credit based on solar output.
A study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that building rooftops alone are capable of hosting enough solar energy to cover the annual electricity needs of more than 121 million homes.