CPS Energy is putting together a community program that would allow San Antonians who either can't afford to install solar panels on their roofs or live in apartment buildings to nevertheless have access to the renewable power.
The effort would consist of a number of projects throughout the city — the first of which is expected to launch within the next few months.
A so-called community solar system allows customers who cannot mount panels on their homes to rent or buy panels on a public system. A credit for energy garnered from the panels is then applied to the customers' bill.
By offering the program, CPS can open its solar initiative to a broader base of ratepayers. Community solar projects in other cities, such as the proposal recently presented by Austin Energy, target customers who rent homes or apartments, whose homes have shaded roofs, or who cannot afford a residential solar system.
CPS is considering different models for community solar systems to ensure the program will be a cost-effective way to expand access to its solar initiative, said spokeswoman Tracy Hamilton in a statement.
“We want to grow community solar in the same way we have utility scale and rooftop (solar),” said Cris Eugster, the city-owned executive vice president of generation and strategy. “We really want to go big with it, because we see it as a perfect way for a lot of people to participate.”