San Antonio City Council has selected Big Sun Solar to construct and manage the largest on-site solar project by a local Texas government. The $30 million project will be made of rooftop, parking and park canopy solar PV systems at 42 city facilities, making it the nation’s second-largest municipal solar project, following New York City.
The city’s newly approved services agreement with Big Sun Solar is set to achieve an 18% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, making progress toward San Antonio’s 2040 goal of zero net energy for all municipal buildings.
Based on a scoring process, Big Sun Solar was selected over several large, out-of-state respondents. The San Antonio-based company, which began as a two-person startup in 2017, is eager to begin construction on this, its largest project to date.
“This contract marks another milestone for Big Sun Solar. We started our journey with a single residential project just six years ago. Today, we’re delivering major commercial solar installations across Texas. At 12.6 MW, this project with the city of San Antonio is twice as large as our biggest existing project. We appreciate the opportunity, and that we get to make this impact in our hometown is even more gratifying,” said Big Sun Solar President Jason Pitman.
San Antonio’s multi-site deal will result in energy and cost savings, shade and weather protection and create local jobs. The project will use new Inflation Reduction Act incentives, the State Energy Conservation Office LoanStar low-interest loan and local tax dollars. 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.
Twenty-three of the installations will be parking canopies that will power on-site municipal operations and provide shade and hail protection to people and vehicles. 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 for the City of San Antonio.
Solar installations will begin in Spring 2024, with 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 Robert Miggins, CEO 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.”
News item from Big Sun Solar