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Austin’s KMFA Is on Its Way to a Greener Future

The classical music station is installing solar panels and EV charging stations

KMFA(FM) in Austin, Texas, is installing solar panels on its building in an effort to reduce traditional energy usage and cut down on costs.

As part of its sustainability initiative, KMFA is also working to install four electric vehicle charging stations in its parking lot, equipped with universal chargers for employees and guests to utilize.

The classical music station has partnered with locally-owned Axis Solar to install the 89,640 Watt-DC system consisting of 166 rooftop solar panels, the maximum number allowed within city code. Once operational, KMFA said the solar array will offset an estimated 133,000 kWh of electrical consumption annually.

The system, including materials and installation, costs about $195,000 in KMFA capital funds; however, the station expects significant returns on that investment.

“Energy absorbed by the solar panels will be transferred to the City of Austin, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and creating resiliency in the local grid,” read a station press release. “In return, KMFA will receive credit from Austin Energy, reducing its average monthly power cost by 40-50% and helping to maintain a fiscally responsible future for the organization.”

KMFA solar panels on top of its building in Austin, Texas. (Photos provided by KMFA)

With the addition of these solar panels and charging stations, KMFA will be eligible for an Austin Energy rebate of around $80,000, as well as a Federal Investment Tax Credit under the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act equal to 30% of the remaining system costs. As a non-profit organization, this credit can be received in the form of direct pay.

“We want to reduce monthly power costs, rely on renewable sources of energy and be a small part of solving the lack of power during high demand periods,” George Preston, CEO at KMFA, said in the release. “We continue to look for ways to align our practices with our company values to maintain a sustainable, eco-friendly and fiscally strong workplace. Installing both solar power and EV charging stations does just that.”

Installation of the solar panels is underway, and is expected to be completed by the end of May. On order, the EV charging stations are scheduled to be operational by the end of June.

KMFA 89.5 is an independent, public, classical radio station in Austin. The FM station features locally-produced shows like “Classical Austin” and “From the Butler School,” as well as nationally distributed programming from Public Radio International, American Public Media and National Public Radio.

In 2022, KMFA also completed construction on a brand-new 18,000-square-foot facility, as reported by Radio World.

[Related: “A Home for Music That ‘Inspires and Restores the Human Spirit‘”]