On the Horizon
Earth Day is April 22, but you can celebrate all weekend at
Earth Day Texas
the largest Earth Day Event in the world.
Earth Day Austin
at Huston-Tillotson University is shaping up to be a spectacular event April 22.
Across the state there are too many Earth focused events to name, but check in your local community. If you live in North Texas,
will celebrate all month at numerous festivals, often with a solar trailer to power the music! Keep an eye on
21st Cool House Tour
June 11, 2017
Join us for our
of sustainably designed and built homes. Modern and traditional designs, urban and rural locales. Everyone can learn from this tour, whether you want to make small changes to your existing home or build a new one.
ASES Solar 2017
Solar Decathlon 2017
We are proud members of
which raises funds for over three dozen environmental non-profits in the state.
H-E-B honors ESTx in April with their tear pad campaign at the checkout counter. Tear off a $1,$3 or $5 coupon and support TXSES and all the organizations under the EarthShare umbrella.
EarthShare also partners with Reliant Energy and their
Welcome to the first Solar Reflector of 2017 and this first day of Earth Month. As the newly elected TXSES Chair, I want to use my first "Chair's Corner" to express my excitement about the interesting times we are privileged to witness in this current era of solar energy's evolution. Solar has captured center stage in new U.S. electric-generating capacity and, regardless of economic or political circumstances, has achieved the global heft to continue its impressive growth.
I have been especially excited lately about the decline in PV system prices and the ramifications this has on impending energy costs. I can envision a future in which energy becomes a negligible percentage of personal and business budgets, and I can imagine the impact this will have on every aspect of our lives. Solar will not only enable us to keep our homes comfortable and affordable, but it will also reduce the embodied energy costs in all the products and services we buy.
Choosing a Solar Installer
By Micah Jasuta, Austin Energy
As costs are declining and the popularity of solar is growing, more and more people are installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at their homes and businesses.
So how do solar shoppers learn about the products they are buying? How do you know your installer is offering you a quality solar system at a reasonable price? With a few tips and tricks, you can become an expert solar power shopper.
SolSmart: Helping Local Governments Be Solar Friendly
By Ross Pumfrey and Chad Laurent
In spite of falling prices and record U.S. solar installations in 2016, the rate of solar adoption on residential and commercial properties varies greatly among local communities. One of the reasons for slower adoption, not surprisingly, is that higher non-hardware costs (known as "soft costs") can make the economic justification for solar more difficult. An important determinant of those costs can be local policies and processes.
The U.S. Department of Energy has recognized the issue of soft costs and has used its SunShot Initiative to support both research and creative programs for several years. One such program is
, which aims to help local governments to reduce the costs, create local solar jobs, and become more "solar friendly."
Community Solar in the Lone Star State
By Katherine Searcy, Cation Consultants, PLLC
In the November 2016 Solar Reflector newsletter, I introduced a growing approach to solar deployment around the country known as community solar. This relatively new concept could enable solar access for the 75 percent of U.S. households that lack either the unshaded roof space or the financial means to install rooftop solar; in essence, community solar promises solar access to all.
Community solar programs are simple in theory yet complex in practice, as the Texas utility landscape is varied and the policy details can be daunting. Therefore, this article will be the first of two installments addressing how utilities in the Lone Star State are implementing this promising solar strategy.
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. The mission is to educate citizens on the value of solar energy for their homes and in their communities, empower them to make informed decisions and encourage them to connect with professional Texas solar businesses.
DJ Rosebaugh - Chair (Austin)
Ron Zagarri - Vice Chair (Austin)
Micah Jasuta - Secretary (Austin)
Paul Gonin -
Board Members at Large
Richard Behlmann (Katy)
Bill Glass (Austin)
Chapter Representatives to the Board
Leslie Libby - Solar Austin
Lissa Magel - North Texas Renewable Energy Group (NTREG)
Kate Rodriguez/Jacob Eyer - Build San Antonio Green/Bring Solar Home
Bill Swann - Houston Renewable Energy Group (HREG)
- Lucy Stolzenburg
Solar Reflector Editor - Ron Zagarri
Solar Reflector Copy Editor - Sarah Weber