March Happy Hour, the State of Solar in 2021

Join us on March 30th to learn what’s really happening on the policy and business front of Texas’ State of Solar in 2021!

When a deadly winter storm descended last month, over 5 million homes and businesses were left without power. When the ice finally melted, Lone Star State officials began searching for answers, for chinks in the armor of a state widely reputed to be an energy powerhouse. According to data collected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) during that week, solar and wind energy delivered 91% and 106% respectively of its promised power, while coal and natural gas delivered 73% and 68% respectively of its promised load. Given the performance of clean energy and solar in particular, we wonder how this information may advise the way for a more robust energy portfolio and less vulnerable electrical grid. On March 30th, Solar Austin will be sitting down with Sen. Jose Menendez and Charlie Hemmeline to tackle the questions: what can Texas – the Energy Giant – learn from these historic power failures, and how can the solar industry help us as a state grow resiliency before the next climate-related crisis strikes?

For the last three years, State Sen. Jose Menendez (D-26, Bexar County) has been one of the loudest pro-solar voices on either side of the political aisle. This happy hour, Sen. Menendez will give us the rundown of Senate Bill 398, which was filed in early February and will ensure that solar customers receive the information needed to make informed decisions and also prohibit municipalities from unreasonably restricting the right of citizens to choose their own energy source. Tune in to learn more about the actions he’s taking to grow the solar workforce, expand residential access to solar power, and support each Texan’s energy independence on the policy side. 

Leading this discussion from the business perspective, we have Charlie Hemmeline, Executive Director of the Texas Solar Power Association, a trade association that promotes the development of solar electric generation in Texas. After walking us through the state of residential, commercial, and utility solar in Texas in 2020, Charlie will impart to us his market expectations and performances for 2021. With an understanding of the challenges facing commercial and utility-scale solar projects, Charlie hopes to leave the Solar Austin community better informed of our performance to date and the opportunities at hand.

So pull up a chair and keep your devices charged, this happy hour is one you won’t want to miss! 

Tuesday, March 30th, 2021
5:30 PM to 7:30 PM (CST)
RSVP here to get the Zoom link!

About the Speakers:

State Senator Jose Menendez is a member of the Democratic Party and has represented the 26th District in the Texas State Senate since 2015. Before that, Jose Menendez represented the 124th District in the Texas House of Representatives between 2000 and 2015. During Jose Menendez’s time in the public service, he has established a reputation as a commonsense problem solver, with the ability to work with leaders from both sides of the political divide to serve the residents of Texas. Jose Menendez has consistently shown his commitment to improving housing, economic development, energy and utilities infrastructure, as well as the public education system of the State of Texas. In 2017, Jose Menendez was awarded the highly-regarded Texas Municipal League Legislator of the Year Award in honor of his outstanding commitment to empowering Texas residents to make choices that affect their communities.

Charlie Hemmeline is the Executive Director of the Texas Solar Power Association. A native Texan, Charlie returned to Austin after more than 8 years with the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, DC leading innovative programs for solar and energy efficiency. Serving originally under President George W. Bush and later President Obama, Charlie led wide-ranging efforts to break down the barriers to mainstream solar and reduce the soft costs of implementation. Highlights included co-founding the Solar America Initiative’s market transformation portfolio and flagship Solar America Cities program in partnership with Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. Charlie holds a master’s degree in Public Service & Administration and a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering, both from Texas A&M University.

How to Attend:
Once you RSVP on Eventbrite, you will receive the Zoom information in your Eventbrite confirmation email and in a reminder email that Solar Austin will send you the day before. On the day of the event, all you’ll have to do is find a comfy spot on the couch with a steady internet connection and kick start Zoom for free! If you have any issues, please contact

Support the Cause:
We hope you’ll consider donating to Solar Austin so we can continue the Pathways Program. Your support is essential to ensuring that Solar Austin programs continue to be free and open to everyone. For regular updates on Solar Austin’s happy hours and advocacy work, like us on Facebook, find us on LinkedIn, join our Meetup group, and follow us on Twitter.