Austin Energy has been a leader on renewable energy adoption, including distributed solar for many years. That’s both because of leadership at the utility and the Austin City Council and because of public demand for progressive energy policies.
That’s the beauty of having a democratically controlled electric utility – it’s responsive to the public. That benefit comes with the responsibility to stay engaged. And that’s a role we play at Solar Austin – helping people learn about the benefits of solar and then getting involved to continue improving local policies and programs to keep solar growing in the Austin area.
Solar Austin was involved in getting the solar rebate program started at Austin Energy and we’ve worked to ensure a steady budget for the solar programs over the years.
There are several potential changes to Austin solar policies and programs in the works. Join us to learn what we’re working on and how you can get involved.
Whether you work in the solar industry, have solar on your home or just think we need to use more solar to reduce our impact on the environment and create local jobs – we want you to get involved.
May 23, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
1607 San Jacinto St.
You’ll hear from the Solar Austin board of directors about our vision for several policies and programs:
- Commercial Value of Solar tariff
- Solar for affordable housing
- Solar for low-income customers in single-family homes
- Solar goals
- Solar rebates and performance-based incentives
Now is the time to get active.
The solar power market has already moved greatly through its early development: from the isolated labs of researchers and inventors, the tinkering workshops of hobbyists, the reclusive sites of off-the-grid applications, the strident efforts of green activists, to the singular homes of early adopters, to wall street’s long-term investors, and more recently, to the doorstep offering. In this ever-expanding industry, there continues to be new horizons, each bigger than the last.
In this talk, industry experts convened by Solar Austin will discuss how solar power solutions in the 21st century are “crossing the chasm” to mass adoption.
Stan Pipkin: LighthouseSolar
Katharine Beisner: Consultant (software, SunPower, CleanTX)
Mark Begert: Mapdwell, Meridian (Finance)
Dave Dixon: Native
Allison Mond: GreenTechMedia (via Skype)
April 25, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
1607 San Jacinto St.
What new ways of acquiring solar power are emerging? Where is the innovation? How do we make the process simpler? When will it show up on new construction? And what are the evolving roles and blind spots of Utilities, Installers, technology manufacturers, policy makers, bankers and the marketplace?
Building off a similar talk at a recent Solar Austin speakers series, we’ll take a tour of what’s to come and answer audience questions about how to go solar effectively while maintaining the inherent promise that solar can deliver a cleaner, more affordable and more resilient future of electricity.
There was a time when solar energy was only accessible to those with cash on hand to buy a system outright. Then financing for solar became common place and middle income people with decent credit scores could go solar without paying up front. Now, there is finally a focus on making solar accessible for low-income residents as well. San Antonio’s electric utility – CPS – has launched an innovative new program called Solar Host that allows customers to benefit from solar without making any investment.
At the same time, CPS has rolled out its first community solar program. The program – called Roofless Solar – is ideal for customers who want go solar, but don’t have a suitable roof or other space on their own property. With community solar, a shaded roof or a roof in need of repair is no longer a barrier to going solar.
WHEN: Tuesday, March 28 (5:30 – 8:00 p.m.)
WHERE: Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin
SPEAKERS: CPS is working with a private developer to implement the Solar Host program, so both Rick Luna from CPS and Tuan Pham from PowerFin Partners will speak at our happy hour.
Rick Luna is Sr. Manager, Product Development for CPS Energy. Rick oversees a program portfolio that includes a variety of solar, demand response and energy efficiency offerings for residential and commercial customers. Rick’s team is instrumental in achieving the Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan (STEP) goal of reducing demand by 771 MW by 2020. Rick’s work has included account management, rate design and economic development. He holds a B.A. in economics from Columbia University.
Tuan Pham is the head of PowerFin, a solar development, financing, and operating company, with offices in Austin and San Antonio. Throughout his career, Tuan has focused on areas where energy and finance converge. Prior to his role in business development at HelioVolt, a thin-film solar company, Tuan covered energy and chemical companies at Morgan Stanley and Banc of America Securities in New York. Tuan’s experience also includes time at the Austin Clean Energy Incubator and Strategic Value Partners, a $5 billion hedge fund, where he served as a Director overseeing energy and industrial investments. Tuan also served on the Austin Local Solar Advisory Committee, a City Council-appointed committee to devise a plan for citywide solar development.
Join us for a visually stimulating discussion of the challenge of our age: climate change. The topics that may be covered are enumerated below and with some audience input a select few will be explored.
Bruce Melton is a science author and filmmaker, outreach specialist, professional engineer with primary research in stormwater treatment, and CEO of the Climate Change Now Initiative (nonprofit 501c3). Founded in 2005, the Initiative has created over 400 reviews of academic climate science literature, 50 popular press articles, two experimental documentaries (rockumentaries), a book, and 36 songs. ClimateDiscovery.org
Bruce holds a unique perspective built on personal observations collected from around North America and Greenland, dedicated review of scientific publication, and a clear understanding of the profound risks with which we are encumbering ourselves. Yet he combines this understanding with a deep optimism regarding what can be done to confront such risk.
February 28, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
1607 San Jacinto St.
The Climate Change Now Initiative, the oldest independent climate science education organization in the world, presents scientific and policy interpretation of the most critical new scientific publishing and global developments of 2016. The program’s backdrop is the Initiative’s field work in reporting major climate impacts happening now across North America and Greenland. What Climate Change Now considers critical to the discussion includes:
- Ecoregime change( forest die-off) in high latitude forests of Western North America
- Apparent drought where an increased warm season can create drought conditions even with above normal precipitation
- Increasing extreme weather
- Abrupt sea level rise and beach disintegration ongoing on barrier island beaches in Texas
- Dramatic increase in Greenland ice discharge
- Ongoing shutdown of the Gulf Stream
- Collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet:
New modeling of timelines and dramatically increased rate of collapse
Feedback from warming induced increase in sea ice
Prevention of complete collapse initiation through ocean heat content reduction
- The history of current climate reform strategies and their efficacy considering successful implementation
- Definition of Dangerous Climate Change and new developments reducing the dangerous limit
- Global Warming Psychology: a description of the disconnection between climate science, the public, policy makers, and environmental advocates, and the role of global warming psychology in increasing climate science awareness
- The psychology of a healthy climate, what this is and how we can achieve it
- The need for strong negative emissions
- Well-developed industrial scale atmospheric CO2 capture technology, the controversy over economic feasibility and a “license to pollute” given the opportunity to remove CO2 directly from the atmosphere
- The demise of fossil fuels and the ongoing disconnection of CO2 emissions from future scenario projections, the role of fracking and dramatically reduced costs of alternative energy, and implications of future cost reductions of solar PV and fugitive emissions from methane.