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The Source: Trading In Solar Power For A Hawaiian King

Solar San Antonio

Lanny Sinkin's time at Solar San Antonio, and in San Antonio all together, is coming to an end. From 2009 onward, Sinkin has been running the solar advocacy nonprofit his father started 15 years ago. His return to San Antonio from Hawaii was precipitated by his mother Faye passing away. His father, community organizer, William Sinkin, passed away this year.

His Sinkin's tenure saw dramatic growth in solar usage in the city. CPS energy and the nonprofit worked hand in glove at times. CPS's generous incentives for homeowners taking on solar as well as the municipal utility's investment in large solar arrays, one of which is named after his father, were examples of the collaboration. The two organizations didn't always see eye to eye though.

The advocacy group was not afraid to criticize CPS for changes it proposed to rates and credits for solar providers and homeowners. Lanny Sinkin appeared on "The Source" to talk about the changes to the SunCredit program last year in what turned into a debate. CPS would later abandon that version of the plan.

The energy industry's stance on solar across the country, has pivoted in the past two years, from one of welcome, to one of concern. One industry analysisshowed that solar could leave legacy utilities with large un-recouped costs for maintaining the grid, while more and more people take advantage of solar power. Solar still makes up less than a quarter of a percent.

Sinkin, while undoubtedly concerned about the future of solar power in the city, has turned his attentions to Hawaii, where he lived for 17 years before moving back to San Antonio. He will work toward making the state its own independent nation. The U.S. overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 has been well documented. The independence movement has grown in the stature on the island, and so has its funding, according to Sinkin.

What will Lanny Sinkin's absence, and that of the Sinkin name in community organization, mean for San Antonio solar?

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org