San Antonio Approves Lone Star State’s Largest Municipal Solar Project
SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio City Council has approved the largest on-site municipal solar project in Texas, a $30 million initiative that will see the installation of rooftop, parking and park canopy solar systems on 42 city facilities.
During their deliberations, the council agreed that not only would the project help the city reach its long-term goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040, it would also have a number of benefits bearing fruit in the near team, including energy and cost savings, providing more shade and rain protection and creating new clean energy jobs.
According to a release from the city, 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.
“This is a big win for San Antonio,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg in a written statement. “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.”
A number of the installations will be parking canopies that will power on-site municipal operations and provide shade and hail protection to people and vehicles.
“In addition to rooftop installations, we’ll be creating solar shade canopies at parks and community centers in areas such as basketball and pickleball courts and skate parks,” said Jason Pittman, CEO of project developer Big Sun Solar.
The company has estimated the project will create more than 15 full-time jobs, with many if not all of the applicants expected to come from the solar apprenticeship program the company partners in with St. Philip’s College.
Douglas Melnick, the city’s chief sustainability officer, said the project is one of the first local government solar initiatives to combine local and state funding with new federal incentives for clean energy.
The project will use new Inflation Reduction Act incentives, the State Energy Conservation Office LoanStar low-interest loan and local tax dollars.
The solar installations will begin next spring, with completion of the entire project expected in the fall of 2026.
“The City of San Antonio is setting a new standard in Texas of what is possible to reduce carbon emissions, adapt to climate change, and ensure San Antonio remains a healthy, vibrant city for generations to come,” said City Manager Erik Walsh in a written statement.