Events

Solar Austin Community Workshop on Expanding Access to Solar

We’re doing something a bit different this month. Instead of our regular happy hour, Solar Austin is hosting a community workshop to gather input on the topic of expanding access to solar.

In September, a team that will include Austin Energy staff, a couple members of the Solar Austin board and other solar policy experts will participate in a workshop hosted by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). This team of seven will focus on identifying ways to expand access to solar in Austin. We know that many renters and lower-income residents, particularly from communities of color, haven’t been able to take advantage of the direct benefits of solar energy.

The goal of the Solar Austin workshop will be to gather community input to help guide the team at the RMI workshop in September. We want to help develop solutions that address the needs, concerns and aspirations of the community.

Huston–Tillotson University has graciously offered to host this event and Solar Austin will provide food and drink.

WHAT: Solar Austin Community Workshop on Expanding Access to Solar
WHEN: Tues., Aug. 27, 5:30 dinner and networking, 6:00 presentation and discussion groups
WHERE: Dickey-Lawless Science Building at Huston–Tillotson University (#1 on the map)

RSVP is appreciated, so we know how much food to buy.

In addition to a short presentation to share the basics about solar and some sample programs, we’ll have facilitated group discussions to try to determine:

  • level of awareness about solar among lower-income residents
  • the main barriers that keep lower-income residents from accessing solar
  • any barriers specific to people of color
  • aspects of solar energy that excite people most
  • the most important features of a new solar program

Anyone who wants to contribute to this work is welcome, but we especially hope to get more people of color, renters and lower-income residents involved in this conversation because those are the groups that have been underserved by the current solar programs.

Ensuring equity in access to solar energy and other climate solutions is an important aspect of climate justice. Solar Austin is committed to making the benefits of solar energy accessible to everyone in the Austin community.

We hope you’ll join us and bring a friend, family member or neighbor who falls into one of the underserved customer groups.


Getting there: Huston–Tillotson University can be accessed by several bus lines. If you drive, there is free street parking on Chalmers Ave and Chicon St, and in the Huston-Tillotson parking lot off Chalmers St between 8th St and 9½ St.

2019 Solar Austin Summer Solstice Celebration

We are excited to invite you to Solar Austin’s second annual Summer Solstice Celebration! Please join us to celebrate our precious solar resources and community advocacy for renewable energy on the longest day of the year.

WHAT: 2019 Solar Austin Summer Solstice Celebration
WHEN: Friday, June 21, 5:30 – 9:00 p.m.
WHERE: Sauce Odyssey (1403 E 7th St)
BUY YOUR TICKET NOW ($10)

We’re passionate about solar policy and technology, but we also like to have fun. Join us at Sauce Odyssey to celebrate and unwind! We will have live music free beer (courtesy of Texas Beer Company), free cider (courtesy of Texas Keeper Cider), and solar car racing for the kids (and fun-loving adults). Sauce Odyssey has delicious food – including vegan options – and an inviting shady location with plenty of seating, hammocks and games.

Come have fun, eat, and drink, while getting to know other members of our community of advocates right here in Austin.

We look forward to celebrating the solstice—and community—with you on June 21st!

NOTE: We won’t have our regular happy hour event in June.

Solar Austin February Happy Hour: Tour of Austin Central Library Green Features

We’re switching things up a bit for our February happy hour.  We won’t be at Scholz Garten this month, so don’t go there, or you’ll be lonely.

Instead, we hope you’ll join us for an expert-guided look at the green features – including the on-site solar energy system – of the Austin Central Library. This LEED Platinum-certified building opened late October 2017 has the distinction of being the first new building with a solar array on the downtown sector of the electric grid, which comes with added complications.

Because we want to do the tour before it gets dark, we’ll be starting our program a bit earlier than usual. The presentation will start at 5:45, but please join us even if you’ll be a bit late.


When:
Tuesday, February 26, 5:30-8:00 p.m.
Where: Demonstration Area 1st floor Austin Central Library (710 W Cesar Chavez St)
RSVP now!

The lead architect Jonathan Smith, of Lake Flato Architects, and solar designer Bungane Mehlomakulu, of Integral Group, will be leading the tour and discussion.

Get more information and RSVP here.

We hope to see you at the library!

Solar Austin Board of Directors

 

More about the Speakers: 

Jonathan Smith, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is an Associate Partner at Lake Flato Architects. Jonathan’s designs foster meaningful and lasting relationships between building occupants and the natural environment, demonstrating excellence in the art of building, the science of sustainability and love for the natural landscape. Jonathan has a strong passion for transformative projects that have an impact beyond their property lines through environmental sustainability, performance-based design and response to climate. Jonathan was Project Architect on the LEED Platinum 180,000 square foot new Central Library in his hometown of Austin, Texas. In 2018 the Austin Central Library was named one of Time Magazine’s World’s Greatest Places. Jonathan is currently working on projects in Texas, California and Hawaii.

Bungane Mehlomakulu, PE, LEED AP BD+C, is a Managing Principal at Integral Group in Austin. Bungane is a design principal working at the boundary between architecture, engineering, and sustainability to deliver a balanced, efficient, and meaningful services to customers and clients. His passion for sustainable building design and operation made him an expert in passive strategies including natural ventilation, daylight harvesting, plug load reductions, and solar control and the application of energy efficient technologies, including radiant floors, displacement ventilation, and chilled beams.

3rd Annual Solar Austin Holiday Party

Our Annual Solar Achievement Award goes to H-E-B Grocery Company, LP this year. We chose to honor H-E-B for their stand out Hurricane Harvey relief work and extensive adoption and support of clean energy. Tickets are $25, $15 for students with valid ID, or $30 at the door and include a drink and appetizers. Get yours now to join us for a fun night supporting clean energy and good local jobs while honoring H-E-B’s support for solar power and victims of Hurricane Harvey!

Friday, December 15th, 7 – 10 p.m.
Friends & Allies Brewing Company, 979 Springdale Road #124
RSVP here.

H-E-B immediately donated $100,000 for Harvey relief, subsequently providing other monetary and volunteer support, the company’s mobile kitchens, and more that 1,000 truckloads of water in the first 72 hours of the crisis to support victims of Hurricane Harvey—support estimated to be worth a total of $3 million. On top of H-E-B’s generous disaster relief support, the company has spent over $10 million implementing solar power systems in 20 of its Austin-area stores and 2 distribution centers, which will be able to produce 4.9 millions kWh of energy per year and brings the retailer’s overall solar energy production to 12.1 million kilowatt-hours per year. Additionally, H-E-B donated $1 million to the San Antonio River Foundation to help fund Confluence Park, a project which will serve as a learning destination to teach visitors about sustainability and conservation practices like solar power and rainwater harvesting.

Live music by Jenny Parrott and her band!

 

 

Please join us to celebrate!

Bluebonnet Solar Tour

Solar Austin is excited to co-host the second Bluebonnet Solar Tour in partnership with the Texas Solar Energy Society and the Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative as part of the American Solar Energy Society’s National Solar Tour. The event will start at 9:00 a.m. at the Bluebonnet Eco Home in Brenham.  The Eco Home was built to demonstrate energy and water efficient building techniques, as well as the use of on-site solar and wind energy, geothermal heating and cooling, and rainwater collection. 

There will be a short Solar 101 presentation, a tour of the Eco Home, and solar installation companies on site to provide additional information.  Bluebonnet Electric Co-op representatives will explain how their process works to connect a solar installation to the grid, and how co-op members are compensated for the energy they produce. 

Free breakfast tacos, coffee and juice will be provided.  Attendees will also be entered to win a solar backpack, which can charge your phone after a sunny walk.

The self-guided tour of nearby homes with different types of solar setups will give attendees the opportunity to see solar in action. Homeowners, installers and Bluebonnet employees will be on hand at each home to talk about the installation process and answer questions.

WHAT: Bluebonnet Solar Tour
WHEN: Saturday, September 9, 9 a.m.
WHERE: 2601 Longwood Dr, Brenham, TX 77833

RSVP and get any last-minute updates here. 

And please invite any Bluebonnet Electric Co-op members you may know!