City Council Approves Largest Municipal On-Site Solar Project in Texas

Published on November 09, 2023

City of San Antonio Sustainability Department  

Project improves energy efficiency, adds shade and weather protection and creates local jobs.

SAN ANTONIO (November 9, 2023) — The largest on-site solar project by a local Texas Government has been approved by the San Antonio City Council. The $30 million project will install roof top, parking, and park canopy solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at 42 city facilities. The City’s newly approved services agreement with local developer Big Sun Solar will also make progress toward San Antonio’s 2040 goal of zero net energy for all municipal buildings.

San Antonio’s innovative multi-site deal will result in energy and cost savings, shade and weather protection and local jobs.  

  • Energy and Cost Savings: 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.
  • Shade and Weather Protection: 23 of the installations will be parking canopies that will power on-site municipal operations and provide shade and hail protection to people and vehicles. 
  • Local Jobs: Big Sun Solar estimates this will create more than 15 full-time jobs. The company’s collaboration with the St. Phillip’s College Solar Apprenticeship Program (part of the Alamo Area District of Community Colleges) will train students in solar energy.

“The launch of this project not only supports the City of San Antonio’s carbon neutral goal laid out in the SA Climate Ready Climate Action Adaptation Plan but will be one of the first local government solar deals to combine local and state funding with new federal incentives for clean energy,” said Douglas Melnick, Chief Sustainability Officer.

“This will be the largest local government on-site solar project in Texas and the second-largest in the nation,” City Manager Erik Walsh said. “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.” 

The project will use new Inflation Reduction Act incentives, the State Energy Conservation Office LoanStar low-interest loan and local tax dollars.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg said, “Today’s vote was a big win for San Antonio. 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.”   

Solar installations will begin Spring 2024, with an anticipated completion in the Fall of 2026.

“Big Sun Solar is honored to have been selected for this important project, which will help our city reach its goal of achieving carbon neutrality,” said Jason Pittman, President of Big Sun Solar. “In addition to rooftop installations, we’ll be creating solar shade canopies at parks and community centers on areas such as basketball and pickleball courts and skate parks.”