The Solar Reflector
N ewsletter of the Texas Solar Energy Society - April 2018

Solar is for Everyone!

We need your support to pro- mote energy efficiency and clean, renewable solar power in Texas.
Individual memberships start
 at $25

 Solar Events on the Horizon 

April is Earth Month and surely there is an Earth Day event in your home town. TXSES and its chapters will be out in their communities. Look for NTREG at Earth Day TexasSolar Austin at Earth Day ATX, HREG at Earth Day Houston and Build San Antonio Green at Fiesta Verde.

And More...

   NTREG meets the second Saturday of the month.
   April 14-CIty of Garland Earth Day
   April 14-Louisville Coloralooza
    May 18-Solar Energy Training

   May 10-Smart, Progressive and Renewable City-SPARC Party!
   Nov 17-Solar Fest

    Solar Austin meets the fourth Tuesday of the month.
   They have an active Solar Car Kits for Kids program, teaching young students about solar power.

 ( Events posted on the TXSES Calendar)    
   HREG meets on the third  Tuesday of the month.
   April 8-Solarize Houston
   April 27-Solar Energy System Workshop
   May 5- Solar 101 for High School Students 

Austin, Texas

Join us for our 22nd self-guided tour.  Learn about energy efficiency and  sustainable design and construction.  This nationally recognized tour is a chance to talk to the homeowners and pros who who have made a commitment to a lighter carbon footprint.

Solar Power Texas
June 5-6, 2018
Austin, Texas

Get in-depth sessions featuring exclusive updates from solar policy drivers in the region, education unique to the state, and connect with leading businesses driving the growth of solar in Texas.

Thank you EarthShare Texas and the April
Fundraiser with H-E-B
We are fortunate to be one of 42  environmental organizations under the EarthShare Texas umbrella that benefit from H-E-B's April tearpad campaign! 
We also benefit from Reliant Energy EcoShare. Thank you!

TXSES is a chapter of the American Solar Energy Society

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

Chair's Corner
Micah Jasuta
Perhaps the most important thing the first Solar Reflector of 2018 should accomplish is to thank you sincerely for reading. This newsletter is an important aspect of the TXSES mission: promoting clean, safe, locally harvested solar energy for every Texan. However, it is only effective in the first place because of our members' concern and involvement. So I thank each of you for reading and for your support.

From personal experience, I know the Solar Reflector readership is a diverse group. We vary in background, age, ethnicity, profession, opinions, and beliefs. Yet we are bound by the common thread of our support of solar energy, which stitches us together like a patchwork quilt.

For some of us, solar is our livelihood -- professionals working each day to create a solar-powered future. For others it's a hobby pursued in our free time, often for no financial gain, fueled by passion. For many, solar is an important investment made for our homes and businesses.   Read More

Texas PUC to Address Distributed Energy Resources

By Robert King,  Good Company Associates

Following a century of electric grids based exclusively on large, centralized power plants and the one-way flow of energy, a growing array of innovative, on-site or localized energy resources are finally available to consumers. Prominent examples include rooftop solar, energy storage, more efficient buildings, the expanding capacity of the Internet of Things to enable customers to voluntarily curtail their energy use in response to price signals or emergencies (demand response), and the growing fleet of electric vehicles.
These emerging technologies, now labeled distributed energy resources (DER), offer a range of potential benefits to various participants in the market today. Customers benefit from reduced consumption of purchased electricity, reduced demand charges through time shifting energy use, and lower rates. As discussed below and depending on their deployment and use, DER can also help local utilities and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates both the regional grid and the wholesale electricity market. All parties benefit from increased reliability, resilience, and self-sufficiency.
The proliferation of these resources has been hampered, however, because the unique structure of today's competitive electric market makes it difficult for the owner of distributed resources to receive compensation for on-site and system-level benefits.   Read More

Rooftop Solar and EVs Save Water and Cut Pollution


By Beia Spiller, Environmental Defense Fund

Thanks to improvements in technology, it's easier than ever to be green.

Solar panels and electric vehicles  are two prime examples of technologies that can help people minimize their environmental footprint without sacrificing comfort or having to radically change their daily behavior. But the question still remains: How much of an environmental benefit do these technologies actually produce? And are there actions that owners of these technologies can take to minimize their pollution footprint even more?

My colleagues and I recently published  a paper in Energy Economics, attempting to answer these two questions for households in Austin, Texas. Our study took place in the Mueller residential neighborhood and focused on a group of homes that are part of Pecan Street Inc.,  a living smart-grid laboratory with the largest customer energy-use database on the planet.

Using detailed household-level data from 2013 to 2015, we were able to track solar panel performance and EV use and charging patterns and match these actions to two important environmental impacts: water  use and greenhouse gas emissions.   Read More

Dear Reader

If you, or someone you know, has a compelling solar story to tell, we would like to hear from you. Please contact our editor at
TXSES Solar Stories. Thank you.

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

Promoting clean, safe, locally harvested solar energy  for every Texan.

As an education-focused   nonprofit, we work to bring solar energy to all Texans via rooftop or community photovoltaics and passive solar design. Sunlight can sustain our communities by delivering inexhaustible, pollution-free, and affordable energy that conserves water and creates good-paying jobs.

Board Officers
Micah Jasuta - Chair (Austin)
Ron Zagarri - Vice Chair (Austin)
Paul Gonin -  Treasurer (Georgetown)
Katherine Searcy - Secretary (Austin)
Board Members at Large
Richard Behlmann (Katy)
John Gardner (Brenham)
Amy Olsen (Bastrop)
Mark Witte (Richardson)
Chapter Representatives to the Board
Sue Klein - Houston Renewable Energy Group (HREG)
Leslie Libby - Solar Austin 
Rosa Orenstein - North Texas Renewable Energy Group (NTREG)
Kate Rodriguez/Jacob Eyer - Build San Antonio Green/Bring Solar Home
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 clean, safe, locally harvest solar energy for every Texan.