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

Major Generation Options for Austin

As you might imagine, events in Japan and NRG’s announced scaleback of efforts to increase generation capacity at the South Texas Project nuclear station have had an impact on our planned presentation on Major Generation Options for Austin and the speaker line up.  However a discussion of generation options is always timely as new events and new developments change our available options.

We are fortunate to have two speakers who can address most energy topics with authority:

Chris Strand, Heather Otten, Dr. Michael Webber

Chris Strand, Heather Otten, Dr. Michael Webber

Chris Strand, Energy Efficiency Expert / Founder of Strand Brothers
Heather Otten, VP of Development, Invenergy / President, The Wind Coalition
Dr. Michael Webber, Univ. Of Texas at Austin / Electric Utility Commission / Pecan Street

MODERATOR:  Mike Sloan, Virtus Energy


Chris Strand founded in 1978 Strand Brothers, an Austin-based residential and small commercial HVAC contractor and one of the largest Building Performance contractors in the nation.  Chris Strand was instrumental in the creation and development of Austin Energy’s incentive programs for energy efficiency and served on the Zero Energy Home Capable task force and the Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure task force.  Chris Strand left Strand Brothers earlier this year to pursue other opportunities.

Heather Otten has been active in the wind industry for almost eleven years and during that time has helped bring over 1,400 megawatts of wind energy projects online in Texas and New Mexico. Heather currently manages Invenergy’s development portfolio in excess of 3,000 megawatts in ERCOT and SPP.  She also directs the company’s participation in statewide policy initiatives and serves as the President for the Wind Coalition (www.windcoalition.org <http://www.windcoalition.org/>).

Michael Webber is Associate Director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, Co-Director of the Clean Energy Incubator, and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas.  He is on the Board of Advisors of Scientific American and has authored more than 125 articles, columns, and book chapters.  He is an active speaker, including testimony for U.S. Senate and the United Nations. Michael holds four patents and is an originator of the Pecan Street Project, a multi-institutional public-private partnership in Austin to create the smart electricity and water utilities of the future.

Please join us for a lively discussion of what the future of energy in TX might look like.

Sign Up Here

Time: April 13 (Wed), 5:00 PM Mixer, 6:30 to 8:00 PM Panel Discussion
Location: Malverde, 400 W. 2nd Street

Parking: Best options are likely the City of Austin garage (free if you visit your city council member and invite them to the event too…and have your parking validated) or  metered street parking.

Changing Austin Energy’s Rates: 2011 and beyond…

Solar Austin HH  (note venue change)

Electric rates in Austin are going up next year… Curious to know how the City will decide how much?  Solar Austin is pleased to announce its Solar Happy Hour for March 9 featuring an exceptional group of experts:

Chris Riley Austin City Council Member — perspective from body that must approve any rate increase
Larry Weis Austin Energy General Manager — leading effort to update the utility’s rate structure
Angelos Angelou Angelou Economics — brings perspective on local community impacts
Alan Holman Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell — lawyer involved in Austin’s most “recent” electric rate cases, 1985-1994

Where:     Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto,   in the interior meeting room                   http://www.scholzgarten.net/

When:      March 9, 5:00pm – mixer, 6:30pm – panel discussion


Register at EventBrite or use the form below.

Solar Austin HH with Doyle Beneby

CPS Energy: Leading San Antonio into the New Energy Economy

The Doyle Beneby HH on Wednesday, 02_23, at MalVerde was well attended and well received.  Thanks to our sponsors for providing hors d’oeuvres and to Doyle Beneby for providing a positive outlook on CPS’s continual augmentation of renewable generation sources in its energy mix.  Finally thanks to all who attended for making it a lively and enjoyable evening.

CPS Energy: Leading San Antonio into the New Energy Economy

February 23, 2011 : Doyle Beneby

CPS Energy: Leading San Antonio into the New Energy Economy
Wednesday, February 23 · 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Malverde. 400 W. 2nd, Austin.

Doyle Beneby, President & CEO, CPS Energy

Doyle Beneby

Doyle Beneby

Solar Austin will host a special event featuring the leader of San Antonio’s municipal utility, CPS Energy CEO Doyle Beneby, offering Austinites a great opportunity to learn about CPS Energy’s plan to pursue affordable renewable energy.

This special event will take place at Malverde (400 W. 2nd, next to City Hall) with a Reception starting at 4pm and talk from 5 to 6pm. Parking is available at City Hall or metered parking on the street.


In August 2010, President and CEO Doyle Beneby joined CPS Energy. Beneby brings a wealth of experience in electricity generation operations, new generation development, electric distribution operations, customer service and labor relations.

Beneby joined CPS Energy after serving Exelon for 8 years in various roles. Most recently, as president of Exelon Power, Beneby oversaw fossil, hydro generation, and solar operations, outage and work management, business operations, engineering and technical support, Exelon New England holdings, new generation development, and operational oversight of co-owned facilities and purchased power contracts. Before joining Exelon, Beneby worked for Consumers Energy in Michigan and Florida Power & Light.

Doyle Beneby Reception Sponsors:

Community Energy

RRE Austin


Jamail & Smith Construction

Solar Austin Happy Hour, February: Austin’s Place in the Solar Universe

Three leaders in Texas’ growing solar community discuss Austin’s place in the Solar Universe — from the context of available technologies, how to develop solar today in a cost-effective way, and the benefits that solar development offers our great city.

Shoal Creek Saloon, February 9. Plenty of food, drink and parking

Please RSVP at http://solaruniverse.eventbrite.com/

For more info: https://www.solaraustin.org/

Please join us if you can — and let the sun shine in!


Talk: Austin’s Place in the Solar Universe
Time: Wednesday, February 9 · 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Location: Shoal Creek Saloon. 909 N. Lamar, Austin.

A City that wants its electricity to be Clean
Event starts at 5:30 to eat, drink, mix.
Solar Panel talk commences at 6:30, featuring:

Tom Ortman, President, Concurrent Design – The Solar Universe
Daven Mehta, CEO, RRE Austin Solar, LLC – cost-effective solar development
Michael Kuhn, CEO, ImagineSolar – the benefits for Austin


Tom Ortman

Tom Ortman

Tom Ortman, Concurrent Design

Tom Ortman is the President of Concurrent Design, Inc., an Austin Engineering Design and Build services firm focused on Commercial and Industrial Product Development in the Clean Energy and Solar Energy Sector. Tom is also Co-Founder of the Solar Energy Entrepreneur’s Network (SEEN / CLEEN), Chairman of the Austin SEMI Steering Committee and a Board Member for the CleanTX Foundation.

Daven Mehta

Daven Mehta

Daven Mehta, RRE Austin Solar

Mr. Daven Mehta leads RRE Austin Solar and previously served as the President of RADS General Trading & Pillars Properties and President/Chief Executive Officer of Deto Safe India Ltd. from 2001 to 2006. From 2007 to 2009, Mr. Mehta worked with NEPC India Ltd. Mr. Mehta graduated with a bachelors degree in chemistry from Bombay University in 1981 and a masters degree in organic chemistry from Bombay University in 1983.

Michael Kuhn

Michael Kuhn

Michael Kuhn, ImagineSolar

Michael Kuhn is CEO of ImagineSolar and founder of the first licensed career school in Texas focused on the clean/smart/renewable energy industries. He has consulted for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar America Cities program, for Austin Energy’s Value of Solar study, and for several clean energy ventures. Mr. Kuhn holds a Master of Science in Management of Technology from Washington University and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas.