A residential house with installed solar panels on the cities East side. Photo by Scott Ball.
An Eastside home's roof features installed solar panels. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Editor’s Note: This editorial, written by a solar industry consultant, has been updated.

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Society thirsts for leadership at all times, in all forms, and for all matters. Despite the level which you believe politics should play in our everyday life, most people will tell you that those who we revere are often those we also look to for guidance. When it comes to energy, however, our society seems to be stuck in a mud of uncertainty.

Even though 90% of top scientific institutions will tell you that global warming is a realistic threat to the future of our planet, 50% of our leadership rejects the idea. They seem to want to halt progress on this issue, ignoring the financial and environmental benefits which accompany participation. Thus, our society seems to be consumed by a fear of free electricity.

The interesting thing about this predicament is that although we as Americans consider ourselves leaders of the free world, we actually lag well behind other countries that have fully embraced the renewable energy initiative. It is truly unfortunate that we possess the resources but not the leadership to seize the top spot on the international energy podium. This needs to change.

Whether you believe in the need for renewable energy or not, it is hard to deny the financial benefits gained, particularly through solar. Residents and businesses of San Antonio are blessed to live in an energy service area which incentivizes solar energy to a degree not seen in any other part of the country. CPS Energy’s solar rebate program, the Federal Government’s ITC tax credit, and the Internal Revenue’s Asset Depreciation Incentive make solar energy participation a lucrative investment. 

With a high-degree of confidence I can say that I am unaware of any other prudent business venture which estimates zero risk, high returns, and is 100% guaranteed. This is because the foundation of solar energy is exactly that – the Sun. It will never have to be bailed out, it will never be victimized by sporadic dips in the stock market, and it produces something that we have used, currently use, and will continue to use for the entirety of our lives. Somethings are certain: Death, taxes, solar power, and the San Antonio Spurs.

Elected officials, chamber of commerce leaders and grass roots community organizers, we look to you to set the priority of this initiative. We look to you for guidance and for “your leadership.” San Antonio is currently ranked the seventh most progressive city for renewable energy adoption. San Antonio leadership should advocate for and sponsor policy development which advances San Antonio’s commitment to renewable energy – a priority that will take San Antonio to the top of the list of cities benefiting from energy savings and global atmospheric responsibility. 

The question is: Will we continue to advance on the groundwork set by names like Sinkin and Castro?  Or will those who we look to for leadership fall victim to non-action and keep us in the grasps of “solarphobia?”

https://rivardreport.wildapricot.org

Top image: An Eastside home with solar panels.  Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Ben Rodriguez

Ben Rodriguez is a solar/governmental affairs consultant for CRG (Community Resource Group) and director of project development for Advanced Solar, a local solar installer.