After its last community solar project sold out in about a month, CPS Energy is seeking proposals for construction of a new community solar project nearly five times as large.

The municipally owned electric and gas utility serving San Antonio customers earlier this month put out a request for proposals for companies interested in building San Antonio’s newest community solar farm.

“It was very popular, and so we’re going to look at some strategic places to put those solar panels,” said CPS Energy President and CEO Paula Gold-Williams at a City Council meeting Thursday.

A community solar project works much like a community garden, with people purchasing panels in a centralized location. The idea is often billed as a way for renters or those with overly shaded homes not suited to rooftop solar panels to invest in solar generation.

The utility’s last community solar project, built by Colorado firm Clean Energy Collective, included more than 11,200 panels on a 10-acre site off U.S. 87 near Loop 1604 east of the city. The cost was $202 per panel.

Those panels have a combined generating capacity of 1.2 megawatts. The newest project could have a capacity as high as 5 megawatts, according to CPS.

At the council meeting, Gold-Williams said CPS would like its next location to be “inside the community, not on the outskirts.”

CPS has been recognized as a leader in solar incentives and offers three ways for its customers to go solar: rebates for customers who pay to install panels themselves, the SolarHostSA program that effectively lets CPS rent roof space from its customers, and its community solar initiative.

CPS will stop accepting proposals on Feb. 26 and is hoping to have work on the solar farm begin in March or April, Gold-Williams said.

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Brendan Gibbons

Brendan Gibbons is a former senior reporter at the San Antonio Report. He is an environmental journalist for Oil & Gas Watch.