San Antonio Ranked 8th in Country for Solar Energy

Solar panels installed at Fort Sam Houston in January 2017. - Joint Base San Antonio
Joint Base San Antonio
Solar panels installed at Fort Sam Houston in January 2017.
San Antonio has become the 8th largest source of solar energy in the country and top solar producer in the state, according to an Environment Texas report released Tuesday.

This shouldn't come as a surprise for San Antonio, a city that's made serious investments in solar rebate programs in recent years. In January, CPS Energy just re-upped its rebate program with a $15 million boost — and promised customers up to 70 cents on the watt for anyone collecting solar energy on both residential and commercial property. But, while the city remains a "solar star" (Environment Texas' words, not ours), San Antonio has actually dropped a rank from last years' report.

In 2015, the city's solar capacity grew 23 percent, compared to about 8 percent in 2016. According to the report, San Antonio could currently accommodate more than 6,000 megawatts from solar energy panels on city rooftops. At the moment, the city's only churning out a 117 megawatts total.

This report comes a week after President Trump declared he's rolling back Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan, a strategy to slash greenhouse gas emissions from electricity industries to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 — a plan that's helped normalize (and incentivize) solar power in the U.S.. Trump's threat, however, appears to have only cemented states' commitment to solar energy. In a joint statement last week, the governors of Oregon, California and Washington and the mayors of their biggest cities said they have no intention to slow green energy creation.

“Through expanded climate policies, we have grown jobs and expanded our economies while cleaning our air," they wrote. "Too much is at stake—from our health and safety to our jobs and livelihoods—for us to move backwards.”

San Antonio's seen a similar boost in job creation since throwing money at a solar energy plan. A study released last week by the Solar Foundation, a trade group based in Washington, D.C., found that solar energy jobs in Bexar County have increased around 191 percent in the past year alone. Currently, some 1,660 people living in the county have a job in the solar industry. The study also estimated that Texas’ solar sector as a whole produced $2.5 billion in direct sales in 2016 and added 2,366 jobs — 46 percent of those in Bexar County.

But, according to Trump, job creation is the main (and perhaps, only) reason the country's green energy sector should be destroyed.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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