The Solar Reflector   

                    Newsletter of the Texas Solar Energy Society- May 2013                                                

 Time to renew? Become a new TXSES member? 
            We do cool stuff. 



       Sunday June 2   



Discover how to design and build for energy efficiency before you put that beautiful solar array on
your home! Learn from the homeowners and professionals who graciously open their doors for this nationally recognized tour. AIA and LEED continuing education credits available. More



The TXSES Chapters were especially busy with Earth Day events in April. Read how they continue to promote the benefits of solar energy and the wise use of all resources.

Solar San Antonio 
In April Solar San Antonio hosted their annual Solar Tour of homes and businesses. In the week leading up to the tour, they  learned CPS was planning to cut the rate solar providers were compensated for power sent back to the grid. The community rallied to protest this abrupt change and convinced the utility to postpone the decision until May 2014 and invite public comment. Grassroots efforts work!
SSA founder Bill Sinkin's 100th Birthday Celebration was May 17!

NTREG meets the 2nd Saturday of the month at the Dallas REI store. They were  busy almost every weekend in April working Earth Day events. Dan Lipinski's Solar Shuttle and Mike Renner's Solar Trailer powered multiple music venues across North Texas, sometimes several in one day!
HREG officially meets quarterly and has various meetups in the interim. Members partnered with the USGBC Texas Gulf Coast Chapter to present a guide on
Solar Austin meets the third Wednesday of the month to discuss issues related to solar. They are working to educate Austin Energy customers on a proposal to move the management of the city utility from the City Council to a board of directors, a move that Solar Austin opposes.

         One environment.
  One simple way to care for it.    
Your gift through workplace giving can support TXSES and other respected environmental charities. 

Reliant Energy generously supports EarthShare Texas through their EcoShare Program.    
H-E-B just completed a very successful tearpad campaign that raised funds for the EarthShare Texas member organizations. Thank you H-E-B! 


TXSES is a member of the American Solar Energy Society,  shinning a light on the solution since 1954. Read the latest issue of Solar Today Magazine and Solar at Work. Find out what's happening in communities around the country with the bi-weekly  
          Solar Citizen!


Chairman's Corner

Chris Boyer    


Welcome to the Texas Solar Energy Society 2013! This will be a year of change for TXSES as the leadership committee re-aligns the vision and activities of the Society with the changing activities in the solar community.


The board is happy to announce that we have brought Lucy Stolzenburg on as the new full time Executive Director.   Lucy has been working for TXSES for 5 years and filled in as Interim Director after Natalie resigned for health reasons last year.  Lucy is fully engaged with growing our membership, supporting the solar home tours in 6 different regions in Texas, supporting education projects including the elementary school solar car kits, establishing our humanitarian solar projects, managing the website, and supporting numerous solar advocacy programs through the year. I also want to applaud the members on our board who are working to promote TXSES and develop a new strategy that meets the needs of the solar market in these times. Read more here.   


     The Challenges Faced by the Texas  
      Energy Sector Would Benefit From   
                 Our Skilled Veterans  

By Scot Arey 

The opportunity- The Department of Defense is committed to renewable energy because it's smart for our national security. This commitment is more than talk; the military is making sizable and meaningful financial investments that will pay important dividends in the years ahead. Texas has an opportunity to leverage this commitment to help solve its own energy independence requirements. But unlike the federal commitment, measured by dollars, Texas can measure its investment in people.


In my first article in this series, I wrote about Texas having one of the nation's largest concentrations of military bases. Every branch of the military calls Texas its home. Each year, thousands of veterans either leave the service after an initial enlistment period or like me, retire after twenty plus years of military service. But what's important for Texas is that these veterans, myself included, choose to make Texas their new home because we know that Texas has put in place the infrastructure and commitment to economic prosperity that will be important for our families. Texas can leverage the military commitment to renewable energy by helping these highly skilled, new Texans transition from "national security" to "Texas Energy Security." Read more here. 

  Our Journey to Go Off Grid      
    One couple's 26 year journey to cut the cord               


By Mike Renner

It started back in 1986 when we lived in Arlington, Texas and had a solar water heating system installed on our home. At the time we received a compelling 60% Federal tax credit on the system, bringing the price down from $5,000 to $2,000, with $100 paid by our utility. The system provided us with about 85% of our annual hot water consumption and paid for itself in about seven years. The realizations hit me that it's smarter to own a solar hot water system than to, in effect, rent electricity from the utility to heat water.  


After researching direct solar gain, we tackled another project ourselves and built a sun room onto the house to reduce our winter heating bills. Appropriately sized overhangs on the south and an added porch on the east side of the sun room protected the room from heat gain in the summer. Read more here. 

            TXSES Sends Solar Lights to 
                   Families in Need    


By Lucy Stolzenburg

Last fall, the TXSES Board pledged to work toward providing solar lighting to residents along the Texas border who lack electricity. Through the educational arm of Proyecto Juan Diego in Brownsville, families whose children could not study at night were selected to receive solar light bulbs. In April, TXSES sent 24 Waka Waka bulbs to the program for distribution. We would like to thank Keta Caballero at the Secretary of State's office, Sister Phylis Peters at Proyecto Juan Diego and especially Alicia Gomez for her diligence in targeting families who were in need. A special thanks goes to The Grid Earth Project for smoothing the process and making sure that we had the best quality and most appropriate device for this donation.  

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

The Texas Solar Energy Society, a 501(c)(3), was founded in 1976 as a non-profit organization created to increase awareness for the potential of solar and other renewable energy applications and to promote the wise use of sustainable and non-polluting resources.   


 Chairman - Chris Carter Boyer  

 Executive Director - Lucy Stolzenburg  

 Editor - Lucy Stolzenburg

 Contributing Writers- Mike Renner, Scot Arey   



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