Tag: Solar

Solar Austin Happy Hour: Smart Inverters and Distributed Energy Resources for a Smarter Grid

As solar and other renewable energy technologies spread further throughout society, effectively connecting these distributed means of generation to current transmission infrastructure and expanding and modernizing the grid become ever more pressing issues. Solar Austin is excited to present our July Happy Hour speaker, Raghu Belur, the co-cofounder of Enphase, who will tell us more about the exciting advancements in smart inverter, smart grid, and distributed energy resources technology, particularly as related to the residential market. Enphase has also generously provided for food and drinks at this month’s happy hour.

July 25, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Scholz Garten 
1607 San Jacinto St.
 
Raghu has more than 20 years of experience in the clean energy and high technology industries. Prior to Enphase, he developed high-speed optical communication technology for Cerent, which was later acquired by Cisco Systems for $7 billion. Before Cerent, Raghu was an engineer at the Indian Institute of Science, where he played a key role in the development of an alternative energy gasification system. He co-founded Enphase Energy with Martin Fornage in 2006.  Raghu has a MSEE from Texas A&M University and an M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.
  
Because solar and wind energy are both distributed and intermittent, power generated from these sources must be closely monitored in order to ensure reliability of the electric grid and efficient delivery of electricity. This means that cutting-edge technology must be used to upgrade old transmission infrastructure. Solar panel systems, however, require an additional layer of complexity because they only produce direct current electricity. These systems are connected to inverters, which convert the electricity produced to alternating current so that it can be fed into a specific building’s electric system or into the local grid. Although inverters can be expensive and add further complexity to an electric system, “smart” inverters and other new technology can allow us to control and automate specific electrical systems and extremely fine resolution of the grid to make the grid more resilient.
 
Smarter inverters and other new transmission infrastructure can help renewable resources to further penetrate into the market and promulgate throughout the grid—an essential foundation for expanding renewable energy generation to fight air pollution and climate change, mushroom the number of local clean energy jobs, and provide solar to even more people.

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 Happy Hour: Karl Rábago – Advancing the Value of Solar

Austin Energy’s value of solar tariff (VOST) has received national attention. Join us to learn more about the VOST from the man behind it and to celebrate our recent victories for local solar in Austin.

When: Tuesday, November 19th, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.

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

Please RSVP here.

We welcome Karl Rábago to the stage to share his experiences developing the award-winning value of solar tariff with his team at Austin Energy, and advancing it across the nation.

This topic is especially relevant because Austin Energy just re-evaluated the value of solar tariff.

Karl Rabago smilingKarl Rábago was one of the key developers of the VOST at Austin Energy and he’s a champion of renewable energy for Texas and across the country.

For a sneak peak of a few things Karl has been working on, check out his blog, Sparks.

About Karl Rábago: Karl has over 20 years experience in electricity policy and regulation, energy markets development, and energy technology development. He operates an energy consulting practice called Rábago Energy, LLC — providing strategic, policy, regulatory, and market development consulting in the clean and innovative energy sectors. Karl serves as Chair of the Board of the Center for Resource Solutions, a San Francisco-based non-governmental organization that works to advance voluntary clean energy markets. He also sits on the Board of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). You can access Rábago’s short bio here, and his full resume here.

*Note: Our December and January happy hours will be at Scholz Garten, but may not be on a Tuesday.*


Solar Austin Happy Hour: Expanding Solar Goals and Programs in Austin

Please note:
No happy hour in June.
Starting July 16, our happy hours will be on
the third Tuesday of each month
at Scholz Garten. 

~~~~~~

RSVP HERE

Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 5:30 – 8:00pm

Scholz Garten, in the Saloon (Private) room

1607 San Jacinto, Austin, TX,78701 (map)

~~~~~~

Parking is usually free in the state parking garages after 6:00 p.m.

State Parking Garages can be found next to, behind and across from Scholz Garten. San Jacinto Blvd., 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and Trinity have parking garage entrances.

~~~~~~ 

We invite you to join us on for a happy hour discussion of solar goals and programs at Austin Energy and how to ensure that Austin maintains its role as a solar leader in Texas.
 
In April, 2012, Austin City Council established the Local Solar Advisory Committee (LSAC) to develop a strategic plan for utilizing solar energy resources in Austin.  The LSAC was a 20-member citizen committee with broad representation from the community and a wealth of expertise on solar energy.
Over the course of five months, the LSAC researched many aspects of solar energy and developed a report with recommendations for how Austin should expand development of our solar energy resources.  On November 1, 2012, the LSAC unanimously approved the report, titled “A Strategic Plan for Local Solar in Austin“.
The report shows that Austin Energy can cost effectively develop 400-600 megawatts of solar capacity by 2020.  The LSAC also recommended several other policy changes, including:
  • a regular review of our progress toward our solar goals,
  • establishing community solar options for those who rent or have a roof that is shaded or facing the wrong direction, and
  • improving financing options.
Austin City Council will soon be working on the 2014 budget, so now is a great time to make sure that the LSAC recommendations are implemented and appropriate funding for program expansions is allocated. 
 
Austin has lead the way on solar development in Texas, largely because solar advocates like you have shared your views and expertise with Austin Energy and Austin City Council.
Please join us on Tuesday, July 16th at Scholz Garten to hear more about the LSAC recommendations and how we can make ourselves heard at City Hall.  Members of our board of directors will speak briefly about the issues and then open the floor to comments, questions and discussion.
5:30 PM: Happy Hour and Networking
6:30 PM: Speakers and Discussion

Solar Austin Happy Hour: Tech Innovation Beyond the Panel: Energy Optimization

RSVP HERE

Wednesday, May 15th, 6:30 – 8:30pm

Spiderhouse Cafe, 2908 Fruth Street, Austin, TX (map)

(in the back, under the big white tent)

Advancements in power converters allow modern solar installations to perform more efficiently and owners to monitor their systems accurately in real time.

On May 15th, we’ll hear from leaders in the power converter field.  Each has decades of experience to share.  We hope you’ll join us to learn more about energy optimization.

RSVP HERE

Panelist information:

Ray Burgess  Ray Burgess

Ray is the president of Draker Energy.  He has extensive experience in corporate leadership and general management with over 30 years in the technology industry.  Mr. Burgess co-founded Solar Power Technologies in 2009 and served as President and CEO through the successful merger with Draker Laboratories Inc. in August 2012.  He previously served as CEO of Teravicta Technologies Inc, a Texas based MEMS switch company and of Tao Group, a UK company delivering multimedia software solutions to the wireless industry.  Mr. Burgess spent over 20 years with the Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector and was a member of the executive team that led the company through its transition to Freescale Semiconductor and its successful IPO in July 2004.

Draker Energy was founded in 1999.  Draker is the global leader in performance monitoring and control of solar power systems. They are the first company in the United States to provide independent monitoring and performance analysis of energy produced by solar arrays. The type of independent energy metering, verification, reporting, and performance analysis we pioneered has become a key contributor to the rapid growth of the solar industry, allowing for validation and enforcement of incentive payment schemes around the world.

John Merritt  John Merritt

John has 30+ years of technical experience spanning product marketing, product development, engineering, and project management in high-tech companies.  Prior to joining Ideal Power Converters in early 2013, he spent 3 years at Draker working on both solar monitoring and solar power optimization technologies.  In additional to his interests in solar and energy storage, John is passionate about sustainable business practices, energy efficiency and water use, and the smart grid.

Ideal Power Converters has invented, patented and commercialized a revolutionary new technology that significantly improves the weight, size, cost, efficiency and reliability of electronic power converters – the conduits to modern energy.  Based on patented indirect Energy Packet SwitchingTM topology that uses a standard lightweight hardware design and embedded application-specific software, IPC serves the multi-billion dollar power conversion markets of renewable energy, electrical energy efficiency, smart grids and electric vehicles.

Paul Malone  Craig Lawrence

Craig is the VP Marketing at SolarBridge Technologies.  He is responsible for strategic marketing, product management, product marketing and marketing communications.  Prior to joining the company, Lawrence served in executive roles at SunEdison, a global leader in solar energy, including vice president of products and general manager of Sun Edison’s Residential and Light Commercial Business Unit.  Prior to SunEdison, Lawrence led the Energy Practice at IDEO, a global design and innovation firm providing product design, engineering and marketing services to leading renewable energy companies and utilities.  Lawrence also led energy investing activities as a principal at Accel Partners, a top Silicon Valley venture capital firm.  Lawrence holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.

SolarBridge Technologies offers solar module manufacturers and installers an innovative microinverter solution that makes rooftop solar simpler, more cost-efficient and reliable.  With the SolarBridge AC Module System, module manufacturers and installers can offer their customers a complete, roof-ready AC module solution.  With an integrated SolarBridge Pantheon, each AC module can perform its own power conversion.  Their on-site and web-based management system completes the solution for 24/7 monitoring of every customer’s system.


Solar Austin Happy Hour – Learn the Latest at Austin Energy!

We invite you to join us at the Chapel Stage at Spider House on Wednesday, February 20th at 6:30 pm to meet Deborah Kimberly, Austin Energy’s new VP of Distributed Energy Services, and get an update on Austin Energy’s solar programs from Lesley Libby, the Solar Program Manager.  Please RSVP.

SPEAKERS:

Deborah KimberlyDeborah Kimberly

As of January 22, Ms. Kimberly is the new VP of Distributed Energy Services at Austin Energy.  Prior to that, she was the Director of the energy efficiency and marketing groups for Salt River Project (SRP), the third largest public power electric utility in the country, based in Tempe, Arizona.  Since 1982 Ms. Kimberly had served in many capacities at SRP including analyst, manager of financial planning, special projects manager, manager of financial services, manager of energy efficiency and policy analysis and director of customer programs and marketing.  As Director of the energy efficiency and marketing groups, her responsibilities included energy efficiency product design and implementation, marketing of all SRP products, price plans and services, corporate events management, measurement and evaluation, and customer and market research.

At Austin Energy, Kimberly will oversee the utility’s energy efficiency and load management programs, including Energy Efficiency Services, Green Building, Solar Programs, Emerging Technologies, Key Accounts, and Data Analytics and Business Intelligence.

Leslie LibbyLeslie Libby

Ms. Libby is the Solar Program Manager at Austin Energy.   She graduated from Montana State University in 1984 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. In December 1992, she graduated with a M.S. in Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. From May 1991 to the present, she has been employed by Austin Energy. Leslie has managed Austin Energy’s solar incentive programs from it’s inception in 2004.

From 2004 until the present, Austin Energy has provided customers with $30 million in incentives which has allowed 1900 participants to install 7 MW of solar on their rooftops. Austin Energy’s latest achievement is the creation of an innovative “Residential Solar Rate.” This rate compensates customers who have invested in local, distributed solar for the value these resources provide the utility. This rate has been nationally recognized by Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) and most recently by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).

We hope you hope you’ll join us to hear from both of these great speakers!  Happy hour starts at 6:30 pm and the program will start at 7:00 pm. 


We need you to stand up for solar on December 19th!

We need you to stand up and demand better clean energy policy on December 19th! The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission is holding a hearing on the effectiveness of the Public Utility Commission (PUC).

We need to use this opportunity to push for better policies for clean energy.  The PUC has once again refused to implement the non-wind renewable portfolio standard without any public discussion.  Let the Sunset Advisory Commission know that you are displeased with the PUC’s refusal to implement the law.

We also need to push for a statewide net metering policy.  Many electric customers outside of Austin and San Antonio don’t receive any credit on their electric bills for the energy that they push out to the grid when they are producing more than they are using.  This unfair and provides a disincentive for installing distributed systems in many areas.  We need to start pushing for a statewide net metering policy now.

We need solar advocates like you to make your voices heard!

Sign up now to attend: www.CleanEnergyWorksForTexas.org.

Even if you don’t wish to speak at the hearing, your presence would still be a good show of support.


Rally for Clean Energy and Good Jobs – Thursday, October 18 at Noon

We are taking our Clean Energy Works for Texas campaign to the doorstep of the Public Utility Commission (PUC) this week. 

We hope you will join us for a rally on Thursday, October 18 at 12 p.m. in front of the William B. Travis building at 1701 N. Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78701

We are urging the PUC to create rules to enforce and expand the non-wind renewable portfolio standard (RPS). Passed into law in 2005, the non-wind RPS has languished at the PUC, thanks to pressure from certain lobby interests not to enforce the law. 7 years is too long to wait.

The PUC needs to hear that the people of Texas are ready to get to work building 21st century energy economies. With more solar potential than any other state, Texas has an opportunity to grow our economy. Our workers should be supplying solar panels, inverters and other equipment to the rest of the country and the world. Enforcing the non-wind renewable portfolio standard will send a message to investors that Texas is open for business.

To RSVP and see updates about the rally, find us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/events/186701511465498/) or Eventbrite (http://rallyforcleanenergyandgoodjobs.eventbrite.com).

For more information on the campaign and to sign on in support, visit www.CleanEnergyWorksForTexas.org.

Contact kwhite@citizen.org with any questions.


Clean Energy Works for Texas – Take Action Now

Solar Austin has partnered with a growing coalition of organizations and businesses on the Clean Energy Works for Texas campaign.  The coalition has filed a petition at the Public Utility Commission (PUC) requesting a rulemaking to enforce and expand the non-wind renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

The non-wind RPS was passed into law by the Texas Legislature in 2005, but has yet to be enforced, thanks to anti-renewable energy lobbyist pressure on the PUC.  The Texas RPS has been quite successful in driving wind energy industry growth in the state, but has failed to do the same for solar, geothermal and other renewable energy industries.  If enforced, the non-wind RPS would create a market for electricity from these other renewable energy sources.

Ask the PUC to implement the law and send a positive signal to clean energy investors.

The RPS is not a subsidy.  It does not provide payments or tax breaks to electricity producers.  It simply requires all private, investor owned utilities (i.e. TXU or Reliant) to purchase a small portion of the electricity that they sell from solar or other non-wind renewable energy producers.

With solar prices considerably lower than they were just a few short years ago and our electric grid regulators struggling to find enough electric generation capacity to meet our needs, now is the time for our state to embrace solar energy.  Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels produce the most energy at the same time of day that people are using the most electricity and, according to a recent study by the Brattle Group, consumers could actually be saving money if we had more solar PV in our energy mix.

We hope you will join us in this effort by sending an email to the PUC.