August Happy Hour: Review of the 84th Legislature

Solar Austin Happy Hours are moving to the 4th Tuesday of each month! This month:

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 at Scholz Garten, 5:30-8pm,

Wondering what happened at the last Legislative Session that may impact Solar? This month we will get a download on the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Charlie Hemmeline, the Executive Director of the Texas Solar Power Association, will will provide an overview of the recently concluded legislative session, specifically pertaining to how it affected clean energy, and give some perspective on what might be in store in the  solar public policy future.

Hemmeline photo 2

Charlie Hemmeline, Executive Director of the Texas Solar Power Association.

Come join us!    

RSVP here

Happy Hour: PACE in Travis County

Property-Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, is an innovative financing program that enables commercial, industrial, multi-family, and agricultural property owners to obtain low-cost, long-term financing for water conservation, energy- efficiency, and renewable energy projects. You may have heard about PACE when it first went through the State Legislature in 2009, or again when it passed in 2013. But in case you haven’t heard, in March of 2015, Travis County officially adopted a local PACE program and PACE program administrator, the Texas PACE Authority!

In July, we will hear from two key players in developing the new Travis County PACE program. Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea will speak on her efforts to bring PACE to Travis County, and Jonathon Blackburn, the Managing Director of the Texas PACE Authority, will discuss how PACE works and how to get a deal started today.

Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea

Brigid Shea

Jonathon Blackburn, Texas PACE Authority

Jonathon Blackburn

Come join us!

When: Tuesday, July 21st, 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM (program will start around 6:15 PM)
Where: Scholz Garten (1607 San Jacinto, Austin, TX 78701)
Click here to RSVP  

Solar Austin May Happy Hour: Simplifying the Solar Marketplace with Technology

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Referred to as the “Kayak of Solar,”  EnergySage helps homeowners, businesses and non-profits to easily and quickly request, review and compare competitive quotes for solar PV systems and financing options online.  By offering them choices and transparency into prices, product, and installer quality, EnergySage allows consumers to select the option that provides the best value for them.

This month, we will hear  from Vikram Aggarwal, the chief executive and founder of EnergySage, about how he and his team have used technology to simplify the process of researching and shopping for solar.

When: Tuesday, May 19th, 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM (program will start around 6:15 PM)
Where: Scholz Garten (1607 San Jacinto, Austin, TX 78701)


Solar Austin Happy Hour: Celebration with Leslie Libby

Leslie LibbyLeslie Libby, Austin Energy’s Solar Energy Services Project Manager, retired on February 27 after 23 years of service. This month, Solar Austin will celebrate Leslie Libby’s contributions to Austin’s solar community and look back on her exciting solar career.

Leslie’s diverse experiences range from work on off-grid PV systems to creating the solar trailer powering sound at local events, to developing the Solar Rebate Program and the award winning Solar for Schools Program.

Leslie has truly been a solar champion for Austin.  Help us thank her.

Join us in the celebration!

When: Tuesday, April 21, 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM (program will start around 6:15 PM)
Where: Scholz Garten (1607 San Jacinto, Austin, TX 78701)


Austin Solar Champion Retiring

Leslie LibbyLeslie Libby, Austin Energy’s Solar Energy Services Project Manager, is retiring after 23 years of service.  In 2003, she was assigned the task of developing a solar rebate program.  Leslie’s skills and desire to see solar flourish in Austin made her the perfect woman for this job.  Under her leadership, Austin Energy helped 2,100 participants install 8.7 megawatts of solar on their rooftops.

A study in 2012 found that Austin Energy had the lowest cost residential solar projects in the country.  This is thanks in no small part to the active solar market that Leslie helped to foster through the Austin Energy solar program.

Leslie has been a true champion for solar in Austin.

To recognize her years of service to the community Councilwoman Tovo will honor Leslie with the Distinguished Service Award tomorrow (Thursday, March 12).  The ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.  Parking is free (with validation) in the garage under City Hall.

We hope you will attend to show your support and gratitude for all that Leslie has done to keep solar growing in Austin.

Solar Austin Happy Hour: Solar and Green Buildings

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) is a national organization with the mission “to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.” The USGBC provides green building educational programs and is the developer of LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, an internationally recognized green building certification program. Come hear from the local USGBC Central Texas – Balcones Chapter on how solar interacts with green building and within the USGBC.


Reed Sternberg, Green Real Estate Agent, Co-Host of Shades of Green Radio, Board Member of the USGBC Central Texas-Balcones Chapter.

Scott Gerhardt, Chairman, Board of Directors USGBC Central Texas – Balcones Chapter

Come Join!

When: Tuesday, February 17, 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM (program will start around 6:15 PM)

Where: Scholz Garten (1607 San Jacinto, Austin, TX 78701)


Solar Austin Happy Hour: Pedernales Electric Co-op

It’s a brand new year and the sun is still shining!  

Pedernales Electric Cooperative is the largest co-op in the country and serves many Austin-area residents as members.  PEC has been mapping out an impressive vision for expanding solar energy in their portfolio, with some exciting new activities underway.

Come hear from PEC solar leadership on their rationale for ramping up solar and their plans moving forward.   


Blake Beavers, Distributive and Renewable Energy ManagerBlake Beavers PEC

Peter Muhoro, Director of Energy Research and Strategy

Peter Muhoro

When: Tuesday, January 20, 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM (program will start around 6:15 PM)
Where: Scholz Garten (1607 San Jacinto, Austin, TX 78701)

Please join us to welcome Blake and Peter to the Solar Austin Happy Hour stage!

Solarize Wells Branch

Solar fever is spreading in the Austin area!  A passionate group of solar supporters is working to bring more solar to Wells Branch.

Solarize Wells BranchIt all started with a solar fair on October 28.  A couple passionate Wells Branch residents put together a great event with speakers and tabling by local solar companies, Austin Energy and Oncor (Wells Branch is split between the Austin Energy and Oncor service areas).  About 200 people from the community showed up to learn more about solar.  As one of the speakers, I provided some basic information and introduced the solarize concept – where members of a community work together to get educated about solar and pool their buying power to contract for a discount with a solar company.

Now, an enthusiastic group of Wells Branch residents have created the Solarize Wells Branch group.  They’ve already put out a request for proposals from solar installations companies.  They’re working to get residents signed up to participate in the program.

If you live in Wells Branch or a nearby neighborhood, check out the Solarize Wells Branch flier and the Solarize Wells Branch website for lots more detailed info.  Enrolling will get you connected with the organizers, who will help get your questions answered.  Don’t worry though – this doesn’t in any way commit you to actually purchasing a solar installation.

UPDATED Solar Austin Happy Hour: Election night party and Generation Plan

Due to scheduling, we’re postponing the Pedernales Electric Cooperative presentation until January.  Join us this month for an end-of-2014 and Election Night celebration along with an update on the Austin Generation Plan.  We’ve done a lot this year and there is no doubt that 2015 will be a big one.  Come celebrate Austin’s solar progress with us and get a jump start on the challenges that lie ahead.
When: Tuesday, December 16, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Where: Scholz Garten (1607 San Jacinto, Austin, TX 78701)
Please join us!