Texas Project Teaches Benefits of Solar Power

The City Public Service (CPS)-ITC Solar Power Station has been activated at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC). The permanent outdoor exhibit includes a real-time display featuring three large solar arrays and an educational demonstration on how solar cells work in an average home.

San Antonio, Texas – December 1, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “UTSA’s Institute of Texan Cultures is proud to partner with City Public Service to demonstrate the value of renewable energy sources and innovative research to our community,” said UTSA President Ricardo Romo. “This project epitomizes the institute’s new focus on science and technology and their influences on the people of Texas. This is a high-visibility project and one that will educate children and adults alike on the benefits of solar power.” At the opening ceremony, Romo was accompanied by Bill Sinkin, chairman of Solar San Antonio, and the new power station. The 91-year-old Sinkin, known locally as “Mr. Solar Energy,” was instrumental in bringing the project to fruition and served as liaison between the University of Texas (UT) System Board of Regents and CPS. “Renewable energy is a key component of the CPS Strategic Energy Plan and we will continue to support research on projects like the solar power station,” said CPS General Manager and CEO Milton B. Lee. “Presently, wind-generated energy comprises 4 percent of our peak electrical demand; and we will increase our percentage of renewable energy to 10 percent by 2015. In addition, we currently are conducting several demonstration projects on solar energy and fuel cells to show the viability of on-site or distributed generation.” According to ITC, the sunlight gathered from the solar arrays and converted into electricity generates up to 10 kW, which is enough to power three average homes during optimal weather conditions. The electricity produced by the station powers the exhibit kiosk and adjoining lights with the majority of the power going directly into CPS’ downtown power grid. Construction on the US$300,000 project began in July 2003 and was completed in November. CPS has a 10-year agreement to operate the panels at ITC with a five-year option to renew. Upon termination of the contract, ITC will own the solar panels, although electricity produced will continue to feed into the downtown grid.
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