January Happy Hour: 100% Renewable Energy for Georgetown

Our first happy hour of the year is going to be one you won’t want to miss. Georgetown will soon be powered by 100% renewable energy. How is it achieving this goal so much more rapidly than Austin and most other cities? What factors were considered in the decision and what were the reasons for choosing renewable energy?

Join us to hear from Mayor Dale Ross, General Manager of Georgetown Utility Systems Jim Briggs and Manager of Resource Planning and Integration Chris Foster.

When: 5:30 – 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Where: Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin
Get your ticket!

Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross

Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross

Mayor Dale Ross:

Dale Ross has lived in the Old Town section of Georgetown for over ten years with his wife, Mickie, and their cat Lillie. He has a wide range of experience in the private sector as business owner, public servant and philanthropist. He is a Certified Public Accountant and President and Founder of L. Dale Ross, CPA, P.C. located in Georgetown. In addition to running a successful business, he has provided his professional advice and services with respect to formulating policy and being a steward of the taxpayers’ money in fulfilling his fiduciary responsibilities during his tenure on the Georgetown City Council.

He is a member of several state and national professional organizations, as well as local non-profits like the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Georgetown Association, Georgetown Heritage Society and the Sun City Kiwanis. He is the president of the Village Lake Office Business Owners’ Association, and is the treasurer of the Georgetown Symphony Society. He is also a past president and treasurer of the Williamson Museum on the Georgetown Square.

In addition to being Mayor, Ross’ service to the City includes a term as District 6 City Council Member, Mayor Pro-Tem, and he was an officer or board member for five other City of Georgetown boards.

Jim Briggs, General Manager of Georgetown Utility Systems

Jim Briggs, General Manager of Georgetown Utility Systems

Jim Briggs:

Jim has served as the City’s Director of Community Owned Utilities and as Assistant City Manager over 26 years. In 2012 when he was promoted to the position of General Manager of Georgetown Utility Systems. As General Manager Jim is responsible for the strategic planning for the utility along with daily operations. Jim has guided the utility through years of high growth as well as times of economic recession; each economic period with its own complexities and challenges.

Jim is a graduate of Texas A&M University, with a Bachelor’s Degree from the College of Agricultural Engineering in Mechanized Systems. Jim has earned his certification as a Certified Water Operator and as a Public Power Executive from the American Public Power Association. Jim serves currently as a board member and past President of the Texas Public Power Association. Jim is also currently serving on the Brazos River Authority Region “G” Water Planning Board. He also serves as Treasurer to Public Power Incorporated, a for-profit affiliate of The American Public Power Association.

In his free time, Jim golf’s when he is not farming or operating the family ranching business.

Chris Foster,  Manager of Resource Planning and Integration

Chris Foster, Manager of Resource Planning and Integration

Chris Foster:

Chris is currently the Manager of Resource Planning and Integration for the City of Georgetown, and has served in the capacity since 2008. His primary role is managing the City’s Municipally Owned Utility power supply.

Previous work includes managing payroll for the Health and human Services Commission, fixing computer equipment for CVS and Walgreens, and running his own tech repair company. Chris is a graduate of Georgetown High School, holding a bachelor’s in Economics/Finance from the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, and a Master’s in Public Administration from Texas State. Chris is also a Certified Government Finance Officer through the Government Finance Officers Association.

Chris is best known for orchestrating the successful transition of Georgetown’s power supply from a single provider that was over 90% fossil fuel based, to being 100% wind and solar powered by 2017. Outside of energy, Chris acts as the City’s economist and lead contract negotiator including water rights, garbage contracts, technological systems, development agreements, etc.

Chris is married with three kids. His dissertation titled “Does Proximity Matter? Measuring the effect green space has on residential water consumption”, and can be found in the Texas State MPA ARP archives.


Solar Austin Holiday Party!

Holiday Party ImageJoin Solar Austin for our first annual holiday fundraiser!

Enjoy music, drinks, and appetizers with your favorite local solar advocates.

Don’t miss the awards ceremony to honor Austin City Council Members Delia Garza and Leslie Pool for their leadership on solar in 2015.

As you may know, Solar Austin is composed of a volunteer board and you, our supporters! While we got a lot done in 2015, just imagine what we could accomplish with an actual paid staffer! But we need your help. Come hang out, talk solar, and help us meet our goal of raising $50,000 to staff a Solar Austin “office,” coming soon near you!

Free drink and appetizers included with each ticket, plus happy hour specials available all night.

When: 6-9pm on December 8th, 2015
Where: Brick Oven Restaurant, 1209 Red River Street
Why: For good times and money raising!

Please share! You can buy tickets or donate below:


October Happy Hour

Happy Hour

The Next Generation of Solar Innovators 

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015 

This month, we will hear from an exciting panel of students from Huston-Tillotson, St. Edwards and University of Texas on solar, environmentalism, and the future of energy in Austin and beyond. We’ll hear about projects from installing solar panels on campus to researching new technologies to creating solar charging stations, and more.
 
We hope you’ll join us to hear from the next generation of solar entrepreneurs, policy makers and advocates.  

Huston-Tillotson University Goes Solar

Huston-Tillotson University has one more thing to be proud of – the school recently installed about 240 kilowatts of solar on campus.  The solar energy systems are on three buildings – the Downs-Jones Library and the Allen-Frazier and Beard-Burrowes residence halls.

Solar energy installations at Huston-Tillotson University - by Rachel Stone

Solar energy installations at Huston-Tillotson University – by Rachel Stone

This commitment to renewable energy is the university’s latest move that places it as a leader in sustainability.  The university had previously installed the SolarPump – a solar-powered charging station for laptops and cell phones.  That project brought awareness of solar energy to the students, but the new installations will make a more meaningful contribution to reducing the university’s carbon footprint.  Raising awareness remains a priority.  Students and others on campus can track how much electricity the new solar installations are producing through a web-based application.
Huston-Tillotson University Green is the New Black student group with university presidet Colette Pierce Burnette and Austin Mayor Steve Adler - photo by Rachel Stone

Huston-Tillotson University Green is the New Black student group with university presidet Colette Pierce Burnette and Austin Mayor Steve Adler – photo by Rachel Stone

Members of Huston-Tillotson’s Green is the New Black student organization participated in the unveiling of the solar energy installations.  The group has taken on a variety of projects since its inception in 2013, including the Dumpster Project.

 


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  


Follow up with EnergySage

Thanks to everyone who made it out to our Happy Hour last night. You requested that the presentation be a available on the website. Enjoy!

EnergySage Presentation for Solar Austin


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)

RSVP


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)

RSVP


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.