SAN ANTONIO -- Rudi Harst can’t wait to soak up the sun through his solar panels. It’s not the day’s rainclouds that are standing in his way, it's the backlog at CPS Energy.
“We’d like to see that magic moment when we flip the switch, and get the quote: ‘free electricity," Harst said.
Harst is just one of hundreds of residential solar installations that need a solar check-up called a "commissioning" from CPS Energy. The inspection is the final hurdle before turning on the system.
The power company says its rebates, combined with federal tax credits, prompted homeowners to go solar in record numbers.
However, that spike has overwhelmed CPS Energy’s engineers and now Harst is on a waiting list.
“For us right now, because we had that large influx and a high volume in the queue, it’s been running about 17 days,” said Don Stanton, Director of CPS Energy’s customer solutions and delivery.
CPS Energy needs to make sure the systems are integrated with the power grid and safe to use.
Harst had a new roof and his solar panels installed in the last two months, yet his panels won’t come alive until August. He says it's like waiting to unwrap a gift.
"The system will pay for itself inside of nine years, and after that a return on our investment of 14 percent to 16 percent,” Harst said.
The rebates can cut the cost of installing solar by more than half. Harst calls it an investment, because his light bill will be cut by more than half, too.
In the end, Harst hopes to only buy and use CPS energy after sundown.
“I’m just glad I could do this for myself, my home, my family and for the environment of San Antonio,” Harst said.