Solar Austin

December 8: Mike Sloan

During this festive holiday season, please join Solar Austin December 8, for a lively conversation on Austin’s energy future.

Austin has long been a leader in green power, but in recent years an increasing number of community voices characterize Green Power as unaffordable.

While this does not match the facts, Austin’s efforts with solar and renewables do seem to be slipping.

What does Austin need to do to get its Green Power mojo back?

Shoal Creek Saloon, Dec. 8. Plenty of food, drink and parking

Click to RSVP

Happy Holidays!

Mike Sloan
Chairman, Subcommittee to get Happy about Solar Solar Austin

Talk: Getting Austin’s Green Power Mojo Back
Time: Wednesday, December 8 · 5:30pm – 8:00pm
Location: Shoal Creek Saloon. 909 N. Lamar, Austin.

Some in Austin say Green Power is too expensive. Our solar goals, too ambitious.


If Austin’s city council, citizen advisors and utility executives take a careful look at the facts — and eliminate the local double standards that favor burning fossil fuel over using clean energy — it’s clear that renewables and energy efficiency already provide more value than cost in our community.

Yet present day challenges are very real. Future green power must be done smart and cost-effectively. It is essential that all interested in a greener, cleaner future work together effectively, as well as reach out successfully to those who see the world differently.

Mike Sloan

Mike Sloan

Energy policy expert Mike Sloan will lead the conversation and offer a wide range of information and provocative ideas in areas ranging from Austin Energy spending trends, affordability of different supply options, and business model reform.

Event starts at 5:30 to eat, drink, mix.

Conversation on Austin’s Green Mojo commences at 6:30. Please participate.

Mike Sloan

For more than 20 years, Mike has consulted exclusively on renewable energy policy, education and project development. Serving industry, government and the non-profit community, Mike brings passion and technical expertise to champion ideas that work for individual businesses and the broader public interest. Career highlights include:

  • Texas became the #1 Wind State in the U.S. during Mike’s long tenure as Managing Consultant of The Wind Coalition. Texas’ installed wind capacity grew 200-fold in 10 years and now exceeds 10,000 MW.
  • Successful Renewable Energy Policy. Mike played an instrumental role in development of Texas’ landmark Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ), Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), and Renewable Energy Credit (REC) programs — generally regarded as “best practices” models in the U.S.
  • Technical and Business Consultant for a wide range of projects in North America, Europe, Africa, and Hawaii using wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and/or hydropower; Mike is fortunate to have helped many leading renewable energy development companies, including FPL Energy (wind), Luz International (solar thermal) and PowerLight (PV).

A former solar research analyst for Austin Energy, Mike has been an active citizen on local renewable energy issues. In 1997-1998, Mike chaired Austin’s Sustainable Energy Task Force that developed the framework for GreenChoice, America’s most successful voluntary “green pricing” program. In 2003, Mike was a founder of Solar Austin, which helped Austin establish a solar rebate program and 100 MW Solar Goal. In 2009, Mike served as a member on Austin’s Generation Planning Task Force and founded, a forum on energy and politics in Austin Texas.

November 10: Larry Weis of Austin Energy

Solar Austin is pleased to have Austin Energy’s new General Manager LARRY WEIS as its “Solar Happy Hour” speaker on November 10.

To celebrate the occasion, and accommodate our growing, happy solar crowd, we will be at a new venue in downtown Austin: Shoal Creek Saloon at 9th & Lamar. Austin’s home of the New Orleans Saints ( has plenty of food, drink and parking. If we can just solarize the giant “Saints” helmet on their roof, this could become solar happy hour nirvana.

Please plan on joining us.

Mike Sloan
Solar Austin, Head Speaker-Arranger Guy

Talk: The Larry Weis Vision for Solar Power in Austin
Time: Wednesday, November 10 • 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Location: Shoal Creek Saloon. 909 N. Lamar, Austin

Larry Weis

Larry Weis

There’s a new sheriff in town. Larry Weis is his name, electricity is his game.

The last utility Larry ran in California (Turlock Irrigation District) may have started its solar programs well after Austin committed to becoming a Solar Power leader, but by 2009, his old utility was outperforming Austin, with cumulative solar installations per customer (19 W/customer) that were 3X that of Austin Energy (6 W/customer).

As Larry takes over the helm of all things Austin Energy — ranging from immediate budget challenges, a renewable energy intensive generation plan, Austin’s first rate case in more than 16 years, and overhauling the utility’s business model — he will also be steering a course toward much greater levels of solar power. Come hear of his vision to achieve Austin’s aspirations for Solar Power and nurturing a vibrant local solar industry.

Can Larry Weis do for Solar in Austin what Drew Brees did for Football in New Orleans? We have the perfect event and place for you to find out…

Larry Weis, the former General Manager and CEO of the Turlock Irrigation District (TID) in Turlock California, began his tenure on September 27, 2010 as General Manager of Austin Energy. Weis brings more than 29 years experience in the electric and water utility industries and was chosen following a national search and an extensive selection process.

Austin City Manager Marc Ott, in naming Weis, said the utility executive has the experience, the record and the management style needed to continue the success enjoyed by the City’s progressive electric utility. “We need a creative thinker that clearly values what it means to be the best managed public utility in the country,” Ott said. “Someone with a track record of embracing challenges, pressing for innovation, ensuring full transparency and welcoming involvement from the community. We heard all of those things about Larry in visiting with community leaders in Turlock and his record reflects the full range of those qualities.”

Weis began his electric utility career in 1981 in Washington state, where he oversaw a huge buildup of a nationally prominent energy efficiency and conservation program, worked with commercial and industrial customers, and strengthened system reliability with additional transmission and stepped up maintenance and planning. At TID, Weis led the planning, financing and construction of natural gas power plants and the acquisition of a 137 MW wind project to meet renewable energy targets.

Weis was born in Seattle, has degrees in Music and Engineering, and spent his early career working for Boeing on the 747 and 767 programs.

October 6: Mark Strama at Solar Austin’s Happy Hour

Date: October 6, 2010
Location: Opal Divine’s Penn Field
k100, 3601 S Congress Ave
Austin, Texas 78704

Time: 6pm-8pm

Renewable Energy and the 2011 Texas Legislature:
Good, Bad or Ugly?

Mark StramaCome hear Rep. Strama’s remarks on the state of play for the upcoming 82nd Legislative session and what opportunities exist to make good on Texas’ vast solar and clean energy potential, despite the realities of an exceedingly ugly State budget. During the 81st session in 2009, Mark was at the epicenter of efforts to pass meaningful solar legislation, serving as the Chairman of the Technology, Economic Development, and Workforce Committee and as a member of the Energy Resources Committee. This will be a great opportunity to visit with one of the leaders shaping Texas energy policy and network on how solar can begin playing a significant role.

Mark’s background:

Mark Strama began his political career working on Ann Richards’ successful campaign for governor in 1990 and went on to become chief of staff for State Senator Rodney Ellis.

In 1995, he left government to become director of programs at Rock the Vote, where he helped register more than a million new voters. Soon after, he founded the first company to register voters online, which helped empower over 700,000 Americans to vote in the 2000 election cycle.

In 2004, Mark campaigned for state representative in an attempt to return to politics and won by just a few hundred votes. Two years later he was re-elected with an overwhelming majority. His campaigns have earned national attention because of his effectiveness in registering voters and mobilizing young activists.

Also save the date:  our November 10 Happy Hour will feature Austin Energy’s new leader, Larry Weis.