Author Archive: Shane Johnson

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.

June Happy Hour: Sustainable Design & Architecture

Contemporary architectural design incorporates many new innovations to reduce energy usage and improve overall sustainability of new projects.
 
Next Tuesday Jonathan Smith, Associate Partner at the architecture firm Lake Flato, will recount various sustainable design features, including solar-readiness, that are employed in projects right now like the new Austin Central Library.
 
Jonathan’s projects include the Austin Central Library, which will power 1/3 of its energy usage from rooftop solar panels, and the mixed-use, sustainably-minded development Sylvan Thirty in Dallas. He will discuss many of the challenges and opportunities of integrated design of solar and other energy innovations within architecture, so this is a great opportunity for small business owners, home owners, and other Austin constituents who hope to incorporate solar, energy efficiency, and other innovations into new developments.
 
Tuesday, June 27, 5:30-8:00 p.m.
Scholz Garten
1607 San Jacinto Blvd
 
Join us to learn about the most up-to-date and effective integrated design features happening in our very own community and how you can become more involved.