Since 2009, Bexar County, Texas, has been implementing a variety of renewable energy technologies like solar hot-water, solar-thermal, and photovoltaics. This comprehensive approach to sustainability is all part of the county’s energy conservation and recycling policy that county commissioners adopted in 2007. The general idea was to conserve and reduce energy consumption while promoting environmental responsibility.
The carport design and material procurement for the Bexar County parking garage was completed by Borrego Solar, that also oversaw physical construction with local subcontracting partners at Triple R Electric, based in San Antonio. The carport installation was built atop a new parking garage on South Flores Street and is providing energy to power stations for plug-in electric vehicles and electricity for a few offices on the garage’s first floor. The nearly 100 kW (DC) solar energy system is made up of 420 Sharp 235 watt solar panels hooked up to 1 Satcon PowerGate Plus inverter. The two arrays are made up of 30 strings of 14 modules each.
Bexar County paid for this solar power installation with its own funds. As a public entity operating in part off tax revenues, the county felt it was inappropriate to apply for any municipal incentives for going solar that would offset a portion of the total installed cost of the solar power installation. As the owner of the installation, and as a tax exempt entity, the County did not qualify for either the Federal Investment Tax Credit or 1603 Treasury Grant, either of which would have offset 30% of the total cost of the project. Ultimately, over the life of the solar power installation, the County will save over $600,000.