Later this year, Austin Energy will begin offering its customers an opportunity to sign up to receive solar energy generated at community solar installations located at the Kingsbery Substation in East Austin, and, in the future, from other solar installations located throughout Austin. Community solar will allow customers who rent or whose homes cannot be fitted with their own solar panels to be able to purchase local solar energy.
Austin Energy is currently considering several options for how to allow residential customers to enroll in its community solar program, including:
- a capacity-based subscription with an upfront fee and monthly production credits (Austin Energy estimates investment would pay back in 13 years, with $90/month in savings for 12 more years);
- a capacity-based subscription with a monthly fee and monthly production credits (Austin Energy estimates the average customer would save $6/month);
- a fixed community solar fee that would replace the power supply adjustment (PSA) fee (this would initially be more expensive, but could be cheaper in later years);
- a community solar fee that would be added to the PSA (similar to GreenChoice, where customers forever pay more);
- a customer ownership model, where customers would buy a number of panels upfront and receive monthly production credits (Austin Energy estimates investment would pay back in 15 years, with $90/month in savings for 10 more years); and
- a low-income community solar offering subsidized through customer charges.
Please note that you may have to enable pop-ups and if you see a note that asks for a Login ID and Password, just ignore that and click “Begin Survey.”
The survey will close on June 1st, so don’t wait!
We’re shaking things up a bit! Instead of a speaker, our May happy hour will be a screening of “Catching the Sun,” an exciting film the hopes and challenges of solar energy. It’s about job creation, bringing people affordable energy, political battles, and helping the fight against climate change.
An unemployed American worker, a Tea Party activist, and a Chinese solar entrepreneur race to lead the clean energy future. But who wins and who loses the battle for power in the 21st century?
Through the stories of workers and entrepreneurs in the U.S. and China, Catching the Sun captures the global race to lead the clean energy future. Over the course of a solar jobs training program, Catching the Sun follows the hope and heartbreak of unemployed American workers seeking jobs in the solar industry. With countries like China investing in innovative technologies and capitalizing on this trillion-dollar opportunity, Catching the Sun tells the story of the global energy transition from the perspective of workers and entrepreneurs building solutions to income inequality and climate change with their own hands. Their successes and failures speak to one of the biggest questions of our time: will the U.S. actually be able to build a clean energy economy?
When: Tuesday, May 24, 5:30 – 8:00 pm (film starts at 6:15)
Where: Scholz Garten (1607 San Jacinto St)
Tickets: $10 ($5 students) – Buy Here
Karen Knight’s enduring passion for energy policy, civic ecology, and high-performance architecture has made her an innovator and role model in Austin. Putting her money where her mouth is, she renovated her own home to receive the Austin Energy Green Building program’s 5-star rating, demonstrating clearly that it is possible to integrate modern architecture in an energy-positive environment. An Ambassador for the Living Building Challenge in Austin, she also supports the healthy engagement of kids with nature through the Shoal Creek Conservancy, Austin Families in Nature, and the Dell Children’s Medical Center Trust. Along with her partner, Graham Pierce, she is currently stewarding 67 acres at Ardor Wood Farm in Red Rock, TX to be shared as a holistic, regenerative wildlife & human retreat experience. Her urban development initiatives for an Ardor project in central downtown Austin continue to move forward to bring together internationally recognized innovators in sustainability, energy, and design to fulfill the vision of a collaborative space fusing hospitality with exquisite, living architecture along the greenbelt trails of Shoal Creek.
Solar is booming, but the share of electricity coming from solar is still very small. As that changes, it will be important to find ways to integrate larger amounts of solar energy in ways that keep the grid stable. As has already been demonstrated in Hawaii, it’s important to take these steps early to avoid having solar production curtailed from homes and businesses. To that end, Austin Energy has been awarded $4.3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative.
The grant will fund the Austin Energy SHINES (Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV) Project, which will pilot and research solar, battery storage, and smart inverter technologies. Included in this project is the much anticipated community solar installation, battery storage to be co-located with the community solar and battery storage at the Mueller development.
Karl Popham, Austin Energy’s Manager of Electric Vehicles & Emerging Technologies, will join us this month to talk about the Austin Energy SHINES Program. Karl has 23+ years experience in emerging technologies, leadership, and consulting. He currently leads Austin Energy’s Emerging Technologies and Electric Vehicle teams to include the award winning Plug-In EVerywhere™ program. Additionally, he is a Department of Energy Principal Investigator on 3 separate initiatives that involve renewables, energy storage, and mobility. He also serves on several research and policy boards relating to energy and innovation.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
5:30 – 8:00 pm
1607 San Jacinto St
The Pedernales Electric Cooperative is taking steps to encourage more of its customers to go solar – including the recent kick off on an on-bill financing program for customer-owned solar installations and battery storage. This is exciting news, both because it the co-op serves many Austin-area residents, and because, as the largest co-op in the country, PEC can set a good example for other co-ops.
Join us for happy hour with Blake Beavers, Renewable & Distributed Energy Manager, and Peter Muhoro, Director of Energy Research and Strategy, of PEC.
WHEN: Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 5:30-8:00 p.m.
WHERE: Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto, Austin, TX 78701
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!
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 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 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.
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:
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.
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.
Solar Austin MissionAccelerate the transition to clean renewable energy in Central Texas to build a healthy community and a strong local economy.
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