After about seven months of planning, Build San Antonio Green (BSAG) and Solar San Antonio (SSA) announced their official merger on Monday after a meeting of the two nonprofit boards finalized the arrangement.
Both organizations were founded by the late William "Bill" Sinkin, San Antonio's beloved pioneer of social justice, economic development and alternative energy: SSA in 1999 and BSAG in 2001. Their similar missions, to proliferate the sustainable use of energy and resources, make the merger a natural fit.
Anita Ledbetter, who worked closely with Sinkin and considers him a mentor, has been executive director of BSAG since 2006 and SSA since Lanny Sinkin, Bill's son, left SSA last year. She has welcomed the challenge of maintaining two robust organizations and will continue to do so under the BSAG umbrella.
"When you love something, there are very few obstacles," Ledbetter said of the merger during an SA Next event last week. "You don't see obstacles, you see opportunity. ... This is everything to us. We have no option but to stand up and carry the dream forward."
The hope is that combining the two organizations will allow "efficiency and economy in the management of their programs, creating a stronger, more stable entity to accomplish the goals of both organizations," stated a news release.
SSA is known as a public resource for anyone interested in learning more about home solar panel installations, solar technology, or renewable energy in general. According to SSA, its Bring Solar Home program "has helped to facilitate the installation of 1.78 MW (megawatts) of solar PV systems" in and around San Antonio.
BSAG, which manages an award-winning residential green certification program, is focused on demand reduction by way of energy efficiency in homes. This program has certified more than "5,100 projects to date resulting in 9.72 MW of peak demand reduction and 63 million (pounds) of CO2 to be saved since it’s inception 14 years ago" according to a news release.
While SSA and BSAG will retain existing programming, there are also plans for enhancement and expansion. As rooftop leasing and community solar pilot programs are rolled out by CPS Energy this year, SSA will expand its program to connect people to solar that may not be able to afford their own system, don't own a home, or can't/don't want to install a system on their property.
“We applaud this union of two organizations leading the sustainability charge in our community, stated Doyle Beneby, president and CEO of CPS Energy. "This merger is forward-thinking and a testament to Anita's leadership and shared vision to ensure San Antonio stays at the forefront of solar technology and its continued widespread adoption.”
"We want to have something for everyone and we don't leave people behind," Ledbetter said, adding that affordability and access are the cornerstones to a sustainable future and "equitable opportunity for everyone."