$15 million for solar in San Antonio, with a local twist


CPS Energy services 820,000 electricity customers in and around San Antonio. The utility’s New Energy Economy (NEE) program aims to bring it to 20% renewable energy, and that it has a “commitment” – but no date noted – to 65% of its electricity being low or no carbon.

Starting November 30, CPS Energy updated its solar power incentive with a $15 million allocation. There is $14 million allocated to the residential sector, with the first $9 million being a flat rebate at $2500 per project, and the second $5 million being $1,500 per project. There is a $500 bonus for using locally produced solar modules. The commercial incentive gets $1 million and will pay 60¢ per watt, plus an additional 10¢ per watt for using local solar modules.

Also noted is that rebates would be cut to 75% of the total for projects built by non-local installation companies.

As reported by local Tony Quesada, the residential rebates are significantly lower than prior. The most recent rate was 60¢ per watt, without the limit set at $25,000 a project versus $2,500 a project. The locally sourced module incentive of 10¢ per watt was still in place. The utility noted that rebates at one point were $3 per watt, and that they were hoping to stretch the rebate budget to 6,200 projects.

The San Antonio Solar Alliance, led by Ben Rodriquez, suggested a different model that cut the cap for residential over time, from $8,000 in 2019, $6,000 in 2020 and $4,000 in 2021. And for the cap for commercial projects to be reduced to $15,000 in 2019, $12,000 in 2020 and $10,000 in 2021.

As the incentive does offer a bonus for ‘locally-produced’ solar modules, pv magazine is bringing you a partial list of products that are currently being manufactured and might meet the utility’s requirement:

  • Mission Solar – San Antonio based (super local).
  • CertainTeed – Building material manufacturer that makes building integrated solar module manufacturer.
  • ITEK – Washington State based manufacturer that recently expanded.
  • Solaria – High efficiency shingle solar module manfuacturer from California
  • SunPower – Industry leader manufacturer based out of California
  • SolarTech Universal – High efficiency modules built in Riviera Beach, Florida
  • Heliene – High efficiency modules built in Minnesota
  • CSUN – A California factory for commercial solar modules from an international company.