The Solar Reflector
Newsletter of the Texas Solar Energy Society - April 2019

We need your support to promote energy efficiency and clean, renewable solar power in Texas.  

 Earth Month in Texas

TXSES will be at  Earth Day ATX
Huston-Tillotson University on April 13. Join us to celebrate our choice of solar power to honor and heal our planet. We'll also be talking about our collaboration with Austin Energy Green Building and Habitat for Humanity for the 23rd Cool House Tour, June 9. 

TXSES chapters in North Texas, Austin, San Antonio and Houston will also be furthering the adoption of solar power, energy efficiency and electric transportation in April. Checkout our Calendar as we add events where you can meet our dedicated colleagues and volunteers.       _____________________________

EarthShare Texas 
and H-E-B

A small donation at the checkout counter makes a big difference.
The April tearpad campaign at H-E-B supports 40 Texas environmental organizations and TXSES is one. $1,$3 or $5 makes a huge difference!


June, 9, 2019

A self-guided tour of homes and
projects devoted to sustainable
and energy efficient design and
construction. We will feature three
remodeled and five new homes.
Most are located in Central Austin
but do not miss the home located
on the Travis Audubon Baker
Sanctuary. One home is almost a
complete DYI project and the City
of Austin Office of Sustainability
has acknowledged the owner as
a Net-Zero Energy Hero.

This collaboration with Austin Energy Green Building helps us convey the message that sustainable design and construction in the built environment is critical to using our energy resources effectively.

The guidebook is your ticket to  
the tour - $25 and $30 day of tour.              
      Online purchases begin soon
    Retail purchases start mid-May
    Habitat for Humanity ReStore
       500 W Ben White Blvd.
         Austin, Texas 78704

Solar 2019 
Minneapolis August 5-9
TXSES is a chapter of the American Solar Energy Society. ASES will hold its annual conference focusing on the race against time to take urgent climate action. Join us this summer and draw strength  from our colleagues and friends who recognize that the solution comes up every morning.

ASES has been shining a light on the solution since 1954.  Become a member of ASES and receive Solar Today Magazine and more!

Our Chapters
Around the State
Our chapters in  
all work to promote the value and adoption of clean, sustainable solar power. Our calendar    lists 
more  events around the state and the nation.

Thank you EarthShare Texas for your support

We are fortunate to be one of 40 environmental organizations under the EarthShare Texas umbrella . ESTx raises money through workplace giving, H-E-B's April tear pad campaign and Reliant Energy EcoShare.
Chair's Corner

Rosa Rodriguez Orenstein

Welcome to the first 2019 edition of the TXSES Solar Reflector. This is my first Chair's Corner, and I am both honored and amazed to be leading this illustrious organization.

Clearly, our biggest challenge and opportunity in 2019 is to find a worthy successor to the incomparable Lucy Stolzenburg as executive director. As with all good things that must end, Lucy decided that at the end of this year she would seek fulfillment in ways other than serving the Texas Solar Energy Society. We wish her happiness and unparalleled success in all future endeavors!

At the appropriate time and place, we will honor and thank Lucy for the accomplishments she has achieved for TXSES during her seven-year tenure as executive director.  Read More

Messing with Texas Community Solar

By Joshua Rhodes, The University of Texas at Austin
The stakeholders of the organization that runs most of the Texas electricity grid, the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), are considering a market rule change labeled Nodal Protocol Revision Request 917 (NPRR 917) that could affect the economics of community solar systems. However, the proposed rule change, if enacted, would not affect residential solar systems or community solar systems under 1 MW of capacity.
In short, the rule change seeks to treat smaller generators, including some community solar projects, more like the large generators on the system.  Read More

Hassle-Free Solar Financing

An Interview with Charlene Heydinger

By Ron Zagarri, TXSES

The Texas Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program is a simple and affordable way to finance energy and water efficiency upgrades for commercial and nonprofit properties. PACE provides low cost, long term financing for qualified "green" improvements.

Upgrades are paid for over time through a voluntary PACE assessment attached to the property. The improvements add immediate property value and lower utility bills to the extent that they pay for themselves over time with positive cash flows.

Charlene Heydinger is the president of Texas PACE Authority, the administrator of the Texas program dedicated to creating a vibrant market for commercial property owners, and executive director of Keeping PACE in Texas, the trade association created in 2012 to promote Property Assessed Clean Energy financing in Texas.

We spoke with Charlene recently to learn more about the program and its impact on commercial solar development. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.  Read More

Breaking the Rules


By John Gardner, TXSES
Solar panels or photovoltaic (PV) arrays are most efficient when aligned perpendicular to the sun's rays. However, while rooftop PV systems are fixed in place, the sun is a moving target that changes position throughout the day and throughout the seasons. So how should PV systems be oriented to achieve maximum electricity yield over the course of a year?

When designing solar PV systems it is common practice to face the array due south (180 degrees) and tilt the panels at an angle equal to the local latitude, about 30 degrees in central Texas, to maximize production. The reality, however, is that few homes have roofing structures that conform to this ideal orientation.  Read more

The Solar Reflector is a publication of the
Texas Solar Energy Society

The Texas Solar Energy Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1976. Our mission is to promote clean, safe, locally harvested solar energy for every Texan.

Board Officers
Rosa Rodriguez Orenstein - Chair (Duncanville)
Katherine Searcy - Vice Chair (Austin)
Ron Zagarri - Secretary (Austin)
Paul Gonin -  Treasurer (Georgetown
Board Members at Large
John Gardner (Brenham)
Micah Jasuta (Austin)
Robert Moss (El Paso)
Amy Olsen (Austin)
Joshua Rhodes (Austin)
Mark Witte (Richardson)
Chapter Representatives to the Board
Leslie Libby - Solar Austin 
Rosa Rodriguez Orenstein - North Texas Renewable Energy Group (NTREG)
Kaylyn Randolph - Build San Antonio Green
Sue Klein - Houston Renewable Energy Group (HREG)
Executive Director  - Lucy Stolzenburg 
Solar Reflector Editor - Ron Zagarri 
Solar Reflector Copy Editor - Sarah Weber   

Thanks to Our Platinum and Gold Level Supporters
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Visit for a list of all our business supporters. We thank all of our members, both business and individual, for supporting our mission to promote the adoption of clean, safe, locally harvested solar energy for every Texan.