CPS Energy

Solar San Antonio

Lanny Sinkin's time at Solar San Antonio, and in San Antonio all together, is coming to an end. From 2009 onward, Sinkin has been running the solar advocacy nonprofit his father started 15 years ago. His return to San Antonio from Hawaii was precipitated by his mother Faye passing away. His father, community organizer, William Sinkin, passed away this year.

Last week the city of Alamo Heights asked CPS Energy to delay installation of smart meters in its neighborhood for one year so that the city could evaluate citizen concerns over the devices. 

A few days later they were told by CPS that the installation in their city was not until late spring of 2015, and that they would conduct outreach to better educate those concerned.

CPS is in the midst of upgrading its grid through a $290 million program intended to increase efficiency and reduce costs.  By adding smart meters to hundreds of thousands of electric and gas meters across the city, they no longer need to travel to individual houses to read meters.

For years skeptics have questioned smart meter programs. Many claims have been made questioning the safety of the radio waves the devices emit, and a far right-wing element voiced by Glenn Beck has made claims that the devices are going to be used to collect data on customers for nefarious purposes.

I don't care what anyone says; the smart meters it is  a controlling device. You know what it is? It's a search engine. It's Google as a search engine"

- Glenn Beck on The Glenn Beck Program 1.25.13

Several of these claims are addressed and refuted on CPS's website and in many published studies.

The Republican Party of Texas officially opposed smart meters in there 2014 convention platform:

We oppose the mandated use of Smart Meters, as well as the use of collected data to reduce freedoms of U.S. citizens. Our opposition is based upon security, property damage, energy inefficiencies, privacy, health issues, and the use of Smart Meters to ration electricity. Texans should be allowed to opt-out of or opt-in to the use of Smart Meters. 

The utility obviously has a hard sell on its hands, but wants to clear things up for those on the fence about their smart meters.  

Ryan Loyd / TPR News

OCI Solar Power announced Thursday that it has "flipped the switch" on 39 megawatts of solar power at the Alamo 4 project, making the newly completed solar farm just west of San Antonio operational.

OCI officials say the company is on track to bring an additional 145 megawatts of solar power to the state by the end of this year.

UHS

  University Health System Thursday accepted a check for half a million dollars in rebates for energy savings. It was the second large, commercial rebate announced this week.

George Hernandez, president and CEO of University Health System, said the new University Hospital Sky Tower is designed to use 20% less energy than a similar structure built to “normal” building codes.

Ryan Loyd / TPR News

OCI Solar Power thought of an idea that leaders there say is sheer genius. They've put sheep to work on the grounds of a solar farm on the far northeast side to keep the grass cut.

As solar panels soak up plenty of hot Texas sunshine, there's plenty landscaping work to do at the Alamo 2 Solar Farm off Binz-Engleman near North Foster Road. But instead of people, OCI Solar Power is employing lambscapers.

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