Sun Spots

(Image courtesy of Lake|Flato Architects)

San Anto has been slowly catching the solar wave. However, from jail showers to quik-marts to private homes and Fort Sam silicon, the rooftop panels are spreading among us with an increasing clip.

Pearl Brewery's revitalization effort (pic above) brought the announcement of a solar roof array to be the state's largest of its kind. Though still limited to a sort of a commercial experiment to the minds inside partial funder CPS Energy, the 200-kilowatt array will power a quarter of the reanimated warehouse.

A milestone was reached earlier this year when the U.S. Department of Energy selected San Antonio as one of 12 U.S. cities to receive $200,000 to pump up the kilowattage of pollution-free energy.

It was such advances that set the stage for the largest Solar Fest yet, Solar San Antonio's hoedown.

I flared solar plaudits at Harman on Earth over the weekend and posted this summery sliver of good vibrations:

Now we're set to rock a 95th b-day party for godfather of shine, Solar SA Founder Mr. Bill Sinkin, at a Brewery fundraiser luncheon May 19 at the rehabbed Pearl Stables.

So bring your solar-powered pony to the jamboree, or you corporate wanks we Current slaves love to needle can green up your image by becoming a sponsor.

Of course, we still have to aggressively steer COSA to pledge more money, interest, and commitment into efficiency and renewable investment BEFORE they land us in a multi-billion dollar tarpit for planned new nuclear plants.

Here's the latest from SEED Coalition:

* Stop The CPS Rate Hike and NRG Nuclear Plants *

Dear Friends,

Your help and action are needed right away. The City Council vote on the first of at least three rate hikes for nuclear power plants could come as early as May 15th. We need to tell the mayor and city council members – NO rate hikes for nuclear power.

Call or email them today! The city clerk can connect you to the mayor and your council member 210-207-7253.
Mayor and council information located at

What else can you do? Sign up to speak at "Citizens to be Heard" which begins at 6 PM on Thursday, May 8th, at City Hall. City Council meetings are held in the Municipal Plaza Building, 103 S. Main Avenue. You must sign up before 6 PM.

(Call 207-7080 for more information regarding Citizens to be Heard.)

Get ready beforehand! Pick up yard/car window signs and flyers you can take door to door in your neighborhood at the meeting on:

Tuesday, May 6th
202 E. Park   (office of Karen Seal)
6:00 PM

Stay for the Tuesday night meeting if you can, but feel free to pick up materials anyway if you're short on time. Anything people can do makes a difference at this time, so jump in any way that you can!
* Calling talk show radio programs to talk about the issue is a great idea – and the financial concerns may help connect to people who might not otherwise be concerned.

* Also, it helps to keep sending letters to the editor at the San Antonio Express-News. They haven't been printing the ones they've been sent recently, so a call to the paper to discuss this might not hurt.

About the Rate Hike and Nuclear Plants:
San Antonio is being asked to support a rate hike, but CPS Energy still refuses to say how much they believe the two proposed nuclear plants would cost. At least three rate hikes would be needed if the nuclear reactors are pursued, and utility bills would soar. Not only is nuclear power is a b ad energy choice for economic reasons, but additionally it produces dangerous radioactive wastes that last for millions of years, and posing serious health, safety and security risks.

CPS Energy would partner with New Jersey based NRG. This company filed for bankruptcy in 2003, has never built a nuclear plant before, has only operated the South Texas Project for several years, and is seriously underestimating costs for the two proposed nuclear plants. NRG's public projections have risen from $6.6 to $8 billion. An independent analysis by Dr. Arjun Makhijani found that the costs would be 2-3 times higher. Moody's Corporate finance estimated costs of $16.2 billion.

The existing two South Texas Nuclear Project reactors ran six times over budget and began operating eight years late. We can't afford to make this mistake again.

San Antonio can do better! Clean energy solutions exist today and are more affordable. Energy efficiency can be used instead of nuc lear power and will build the local economy. With the $206 million in just the first proposed rate hike, over 51,000 homes could be retrofitted to become more efficient. Customer bills would come down and local jobs would be created. More renewable wind energy can be purchased and solar power costs are coming down dramatically.