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.

SPEAKERS:

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)

RSVP

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.   

Speakers:

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!
-

Candidate Solar Scorecards

Early voting is under way and Election Day is almost here.  Do you know who you’re voting for at the city level?

If you need some help getting started, check out our candidate solar scorecards for the City Council district and mayoral races.

While Solar Austin isn’t endorsing any particular candidates, our scorecards will help you see which candidates are more or less supportive of several programs and goals.

If you already early voted, give yourself a pat on the back and remind your friends, family and co-workers to vote too.

Happy voting!

Solar Austin Happy Hour: Nonprofits Going Solar – PART 2

Solar energy isn’t just for homeowners and businesses, some of the wonderful nonprofits in Austin are seeing the benefits as well.  As an affordable energy option, solar can help keep costs low and allow nonprofits to spend their precious resources on other needs.
There has been a flurry of new projects in the nonprofit sector, broadening the reach of solar energy in Austin, so we’re doing another round of this popular program.  Come hear from some of the local nonprofit leaders who have embraced solar.
When: Tuesday, October 21, 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM (program will start around 6:15 PM)
Where: Scholz Garten (1607 San Jacinto, Austin, TX 78701)
BoyScouts photo smallSunRadio photo cropped small
Speakers will include:
  • Jon C. Yates, Boy Scouts of America – Capitol Area Council Scout Executive / CEO
  • Daryl O’Neal, Sun Radio – Founder and Volunteer
These civic-minded individuals will share information about their organizations’ recent solar projects, including why they did it, how they made it happen, and what their experiences have been.

Please join us to welcome Jon and Daryl to the Solar Austin Happy Hour stage!

Austin City Council Canidate Forums Offer Chance to See Who Supports Solar

Solar had a big win at the Austin City Council last week.

The Council passed a resolution that doubles the local solar goal to 200 megawatts and the residential and commercial solar goal to 100 megawatts by 2020. The resolution also said that Austin Energy should replace power from the old polluting Decker gas plant with 600 megawatts of large scale solar by 2017.

Sun in fistBut it will be up to the new City Council to make sure these ambitious new goals are implemented.

There are so many candidates running in many of the districts that it might seem difficult to learn what they all think about solar. That’s why Solar Austin is co-hosting a series of candidate forums on Austin Energy issues.

Please join us for your district candidate forum and the mayoral candidate forum.

  • Districts 6 & 10: September 12, 6 – 9 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa Dr, Austin, TX 78731
  • Districts 2 & 3: September 19, 6 – 9 p.m., Austin JATC Electrical Training Center, 4000 Caven Rd, Austin, TX 78744
  • Districts 1 & 7: September 20, 12:30 – 3:30 p.m., Northwest Recreation Center, 2913 Northland Dr, Austin, TX 78757
  • Districts 4 & 9: September 22, 6 – 9 p.m., First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4700 Grover Ave, Austin, TX 78756
  • Districts 5 & 8: September 23, 6 – 9 p.m., Treehouse, 4477 S. Lamar Blvd, #600, Austin, TX 78745
  • Mayoral: September 29, 7 – 10 p.m., First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4700 Grover Ave, Austin, TX 78756

Please click on the links and share the Facebook events with your friends, neighbors and co-workers.

Candidates will answer questions on a variety of energy topics including solar, climate change and keeping electric bills affordable for low-income customers.

If you don’t know which district you are in, you can look it up. Type in only your street address. For example, if you live at 1234 Barton Springs Rd, Apt 44, type in only “1409 Barton Springs Rd.”

The best way to make sure the next Austin City Council is supportive of solar is for solar supporters to have a presence at these events and learn which candidates will be most likely to keep solar growing in Austin.

Solar Austin Happy Hour: Toward a Maximum Potential Energy Future

This month we will feature the work of the oldest 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations in the US that does work in the sustainable architecture landscape architecture and planning arena. Come hear Pliny Fisk III share 4 decades of his experience advancing innovative technologies, projects, and programs as co-Director of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems.

When: Tuesday, September 16, 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM (program will start around 6:15 PM)
Where: Scholz Garten (1607 San Jacinto, Austin, TX 78701)
RSVP

Pliny will give a brief overview of the center’s 12 methods of design and planning and then discuss his wide ranging work with a diverse set of clientele.  His projects have included the green specification of the US Pentagon, work on the US Mexican border, the first Green Builder program in the US, a sustainable village in China’s coal region, a proposal for hurricane ravaged areas such as Galveston, a new city proposal to rehabilitate the vast destruction of Morocco’s phosphate mines, and Solar Decathlon support for both U.T. and Texas A&M.

SPEAKER BIO:
Pliny Fisk III, Co-Director, Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems
 
With a background in architecture, landscape architecture, and the systems sciences, Pliny has made pivotal contributions to the sustainability movement for more than four decades by developing replicable prototypes, protocols and policy initiatives.
His prototypes challenge conventional wisdom about building design, engineering, materials, economic development, and landscape and regional planning.
His policy initiatives have included the Austin Green Building Program, the AIA’s Environmental Resource Guide, and greening the Texas Architecture + Engineering Guidelines.
Pliny has received several national and international recognitions including the Lewis Mumford Award, the 1992 Earth Summit Award (with the City of Austin), the U.S. Green Building Council’s Sacred Tree Award, and The Passive Solar Pioneer Award.  Pliny was on the faculty at Ball State University, The University of Texas at Austin, and Texas A&M University, and held teaching positions at the University of Oklahoma and Mississippi State University.

Solar Industry Growing Good Green Collar Jobs in Austin

The installation sector of the solar industry is growing fast and creating good green collar jobs in places like Austin. These are jobs that can never be outsourced because a crew of installers needs to actually bring the solar panels and other hardware to homes and businesses and set it up. You can’t do that over the phone, so the local solar market is a dependable source of jobs.

Solar Employees – Mark Haller from Solar Austin on Vimeo.

Help us spread the word: share this video on Facebook and Twitter with hashtag #ATXSolarSuccess