San Antonio Water System

At a Glance


Energy or Utility

Project Type

Clean and Renewable Energy




San Antonio, TX

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Net Present Value:


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Annual kWh Savings:

6,000,000 kWh

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Annual CO2 Reductions:

3,000 metric tons


Chu Chu helped San Antonio Water System determine the feasibility of solar installation at one of its treatment plants and improve the energy efficiency of its operations.


San Antonio Water System (SAWS) is a municipal water and wastewater utility that serves the seventh largest city in the United States. As part of its mission, Sustainable, Affordable Water Service, SAWS has made great efforts in energy management and conservation. Interested in taking its work one step further, SAWS enlisted EDF Climate Corps fellow Chu Chu to conduct a feasibility analysis of a solar PV system and analyze the potential for energy efficiency at its Leon Creek Water Recycle Center (WRC).


Chu began her work by benchmarking energy consumption at Leon Creek WRC, using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Her analysis suggested that the facility has a much higher energy performance compared to the national average level. Through site visits and employee interviews, Chu found that energy use can be reduced by switching to more efficient outdoor LED lighting systems. 

Chu started the cost-benefit analysis for the solar PV system, and only after surveying the applicable incentives and available financing options did she realized that this investment might not be as favorable as originally expected, especially under the current competitive utility rate. Bypassing this financial barrier, she quickly reached out to vendors and conducted an intensive search for financing solutions. In the end, Chu identified an optimal system design, which maximizes the benefits of solar generation, and found a low-cost capital opportunity to help SAWS avoid the upfront cost.

Potential Impact

The proposed LED lighting upgrade can save energy cost while substantially improving the night working environment at this wastewater facility. Chu’s solar PV proposal also provides cost-effective solutions to further reduce the energy cost. If implemented, these two projects can generate a utility cost savings of $355,225 and lead to a carbon reduction of 3,007 metric tons annually. It will strengthen SAWS’s commitment to energy conservation and environmental protection.

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