Mission

Solar Austin’s mission is to accelerate the transition to clean, renewable energy in Central Texas and to expand access to the benefits of solar to everyone to mitigate climate change, create a healthy community and support a strong local economy.

Latest Posts

Solar Austin Happy Hour: Clean Energy Credit Union

For our May happy hour, Amanda Bybee will share the story of the Clean Energy Credit Union (CECU), a first-of-its-kind financial institution dedicated to providing affordable financing for clean energy products or services, such as EV purchases or home energy efficiency projects or solar retrofits. In addition to serving as a volunteer on the Supervisory Committee of the credit union, Amanda worked to obtain the CECU’s federal charter as a not-for-profit, tax-exempt cooperative that is democratically owned and controlled by its members on a one-vote-per-member basis. While the CECU is unique, it is not Amanda’s first foray into deeply democratic co-operative business structures.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM 
Scholz Garten (1607 San Jacinto Boulevard Austin, TX 78701)
RSVP Here

 

About Amanda Bybee: 

In 2016, Amanda helped to earn a SunShot Initiative award from the US Department of Energy to found the Amicus O&M Cooperative, where she serves as CEO. This operations and maintenance cooperative brings together a network of service providers across the country to offer coordinated services for geographically distributed portfolios of solar assets. Its sister organization, Amicus Solar, is a member’s-owned buyers cooperative for solar installation companies. Both of these cooperatives are cultural and business offshoots of Colorado-based Namasté Solar, an employee-owned and B Corp-certified solar EPC. Prior to joining Namasté Solar in 2006, where she held numerous roles over an 11-year span, Amanda worked as a “Jill-of-all-trades” at Austin-based Meridian Solar. Amanda started her solar career in 2003, promoting renewable energy as the coordinator of Public Citizen’s Solar Austin Campaign.”

 

What are my parking options for the event?

State Parking Garages can be found next to, behind and across from Scholz Garten. San Jacinto Blvd., 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and Trinity have parking garage entrances. 

Although our happy hours are free and open to all, we hope you’ll consider donating to Solar Austin.  Help us keep solar energy growing in the Austin area.  You can purchase a ticket to the happy hour or go to our website, solaraustin.org, to donate and avoid fees.

For regular updates on our Happy Hours and more information about Solar Austin, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook, and sign up for our email list via solaraustin.org.

Get more information and RSVP here.

We hope to see you at Scholz!

Solar Austin Board of Directors

 

Solar Austin Happy Hour: Austin Energy’s SHINES Program

For our April happy hour, Karl Popham will share Austin Energy’s innovative efforts in the utility’s alignment with the city’s goals of Mobility, Affordability, and Health/Environment. This will include an update on the opportunities and challenges with the award-winning Austin SHINES deployment that integrated residential, commercial, and grid battery storage systems (to include vehicle to grid) with PV Solar under one “virtual power plant” dispatch system. Karl will also do a deep dive into Austin’s transportation electrification programs to included CapMetro’s Bus Fleet plans, eScooters (love them/hate them?), grid integration, low-income solutions, new training opportunities, autonomous driving rollout plans (Austin’s Smart Moblity Roadmap), and more.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM 
Scholz Garten (1607 San Jacinto Boulevard Austin, TX 78701)
RSVP Here

More about Karl Popham: 

Karl Popham Photo A nationally recognized speaker, research contributor, and book co-author of “Smart Cities: Applications, Technologies, Standards & Driving Factors”, Karl has lived in Austin since his teen years and is a longhorn graduate. Currently, he is the Manager of Electric Vehicles & Emerging Technologies at Austin Energy and is the Principal Investigator on several U.S. Department of Energy funded and award-winning projects advancing transportation electrification, renewables, energy storage, and “virtual power plant” technologies. He is the electrification lead for Austin’s Smart Mobility Roadmap that includes autonomous transportation and was a core member of the Mayor’s Smart City Challenge team. Previously he served as Austin Energy’s interim Chief Information Officer, a Managing Director at Hewlett-Packard Services, Director at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, and a Captain in the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

Solar Austin Happy Hour: UT Austin Sustainability Master Plan

For our March happy hour, Jim Walker will give an overview of the UT Austin Sustainability Master Plan and specific initiatives related to energy and renewables.  He will share his perspective on how university efforts fit into the broader context of City of Austin and Austin Energy efforts, as well as higher education in general.  The UT Austin Sustainability Master plan was adopted in 2016 and updated in 2018 and sets a goals for the university out to 2030.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM 
Scholz Garten (1607 San Jacinto Boulevard Austin, TX 78701)
RSVP Here

More about Jim Walker: 

Jim Walker was appointed Director of Sustainability for the University of Texas at Austin in April, 2009. He works closely with the President’s Sustainability Steering Committee on the UT Austin Sustainability Master Plan and is the university’s USGBC Liaison related to LEED and SITES on new capital projects. Jim has a Masters in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.  Jim currently serves on the boards of the Mueller Foundation, the USGBC Texas Chapter, and Earth Day Austin, and recently served on the City of Austin Joint Sustainability Committee. Jim is originally from Oregon and accidentally moved to Austin in 1992. He was introduced to sustainability by Pliny Fisk and Gail Vittori at the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, and soon after by Lars Stanley, FAIA, LEED AP and Girard Kinney, AIA.

What are my parking options for the event?

State Parking Garages can be found next to, behind and across from Scholz Garten. San Jacinto Blvd., 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and Trinity have parking garage entrances. 

Although our happy hours are free and open to all, we hope you’ll consider donating to Solar Austin.  Help us keep solar energy growing in the Austin area.  You can purchase a ticket to the happy hour or go to our website, solaraustin.org, to donate and avoid fees.

For regular updates on our Happy Hours and more information about Solar Austin, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook, and sign up for our email list via solaraustin.org

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.

Solar Austin Happy Hour: The Future is Bright – Utility-Scale Solar Development

This month we will be joined by Rich Clark, Director of Development and Engineering at 7X Energy, who will discuss utility-scale solar development with a focus on the Texas market and how new technology is helping lead the solar industry into a bright future. 7X Energy serves corporations, utilities, municipalities, and electric co-ops with cost-competitive solar energy.

When: Tuesday, January 22, 5:30-8 p.m.
Where: Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto Blvd
RSVP now for this important and engaging conversation.

At 7X, Rich leads the engineering including design, energy simulations, site studies, and permitting that support development of the company’s growing solar project pipeline. Prior to joining 7X, Rich worked at SunPower as the Development Engineering Manager for Utility Power Plants (UPP) covering North and South America. There, Rich worked on numerous power plant projects in the early development phase totaling over 3 GW of capacity. He also led the development engineering on seven UPP projects totaling over 450 MW in the U.S. and Latin America. Before SunPower, Rich was a Project Engineer at NRG Energy working on development for solar distributed generation and utility solar power plants.

Rich has an MBA from Drexel University and BS in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. He is also a licensed PE in New Jersey.