Small San Antonio businesses embrace solar energy

There are new horizons in the world of renewable energy resources that are cleaner, less expensive and more reliable.

According to Consumer Digest International, there is a 50 percent increase on the use of solar panels worldwide, with the cost of installation dropping an average of 40 percent from when they first surfaced a few years ago.

In most rural nations, the average cost of installation is $6,000, but it becomes practically cost-free in four-to-five years. It's becoming popular in agricultural nations like Kenya, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan and even more so in countries with a high population density, such as India and China.

As other nations and cities throughout the United States welcome solar power and seek to reduce green gas emissions, we took a look around San Antonio to see what small and medium-sized businesses are making contributions.

At the Golden Food Mart on 1743 Hildebrand Avenue, manager Momin Ali Tariq said the convenience store recently put in nine solar panel systems with three control systems, consisting of 4,500 watts each, on the roof.

Although needs vary depending on size and consumption, Tariq said he’s been happy with the results, seeing a 60 percent reduction on the monthly electricity bill for the store, which also runs a gas station.

It’s important to mention the important role that CPS Energy, the nation’s largest municipal buyer of wind energy, is playing in San Antonio’s efforts to become a more environmentally friendly city, offering substantial rebates to those people and businesses which install solar panels and other energy-reducing systems.

Similar efforts are going on in other parts of the world. In India, for example, a program called Barefoot College has been training regular citizens to become solar panel technicians, even engineers.

The program is also providing solar power to more than 400 villages in rural India, making a top impact in the local economies and proving solar power is a reliable and important source of renewable energy.

For more information on CPS incentives, go to CPSEnergy.com, Hill-Electric.com or SolarWorld-USA.com