The Solar Reflector   

                    Newsletter of the Texas Solar Energy Society- December 2013                                                

Celebrate the Winter Solstice and the return of the sun to the Northern Hemisphere!

We need your financial support to promote solar energy and the wise use of all resources in Texas. Memberships start at $25!
           Join Us!
The TXSES Annual Meeting
January 25, 2014
Texas A & M University Central Texas
1:00-3:30

Join us for our first ever meeting in Killeen.  Help us acknowledge the rise of solar in Central Texas and the veterans who have chosen to be a part of the solar community. Details and logistics to follow.        
 
San Antonio Environmental Challenges Conference:
Opportunities in Resilience
    
 

 TXSES CHAPTERS
          
Is there a TXSES chapter near you? They all work to   promote, educate and encourage the adoption of solar energy and the wise use of resources. Don't hesitate to contact them!

The TXSES Calendar lists upcoming chapter events.
 
 
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
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TXSES logo with border

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.
   

Chairman's Corner

Chris Boyer       

 

I just returned from my third trip to South Sudan where I have been delivering courses on solar energy and helping young aspiring entrepreneurs start solar installation companies. There, solar electricity is an obvious preference compared to the noisy, polluting small generators that gulp fuel that must be trucked in from another country at a cost of $15/gallon, making the cost of electricity well over $1/kWh. Still, one of the greatest barriers for solar in Africa is the same challenge we face in the United States - educating the public about solar energy.

 

Here in Texas, one of the greatest contributions toward public awareness of solar energy has been our solar tours. The Houston chapter, North Texas chapter, and the TXSES/Pedernales Electric Coop collaboration did outstanding jobs this year with their solar tours in October, all in concert with the ASES National Solar Tour. More
         Solarize Plano Initiative Exceeds      
              Installation Expectaions      

By Michael Albrecht

                            

According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website, "A study commissioned by the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) in the mid-1990s found that Texas has 250 "quads" of solar energy accessible per year. Given that one quad is one quadrillion British thermal units (Btus) of energy - enough to meet the annual needs of about 3 million people - Texas' solar energy potential is enormous."

 

Larry Howe and Bob Litwins, along with other members of Plano Solar Advocates, decided earlier this year to harness a fraction of that potential gold mine of incoming solar photons. They launched an effort to establish a local version of the 'solarize' process, promoted by the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative. A solarize program uses an innovative bulk purchase approach designed to remove barriers to solar adoption by reducing the initial up-front costs of installing solar systems on residences and businesses. More 


          The Rise of Rooftop Solar Among
                    the Middle Class
   
This report from the  Center for American Progress looks to dispel the perception that solar is only for well-to-do Americans. Middle income and lower income homeowners are especially sensitive to the cost of energy, and see solar with its no-cost fuel source as a way to lock in prices in a volatile market.

By Mari Hernandez     
                               
Homeowners across the United States have begun a rooftop solar revolution. Since 2000, more than 1,460 megawatts of residential solar installations have been installed across the country, and more than 80 percent of that capacity was added in the past four years. In 2012 alone, rooftop solar installations reached 488 megawatts, a 62 percent increase over 2011 installations and nearly double the installed capacity added in 2010 .

 

The question is: Who is buying up all of those solar power systems? Through our analysis of solar installation data from Arizona, California, and New Jersey, we found that these installations are overwhelmingly occurring in middle-class neighborhoods. More  

 

 How to Choose a Solar Installer  

By Lucy Stolzenburg  

 

Because of the price of solar has dropped dramatically over the past few years, there is a solar installation boom among homeowners in the country. In Texas, according to Tracking the Sun from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, the median price of a solar installation is $3.90 per watt, the lowest in the country. Depending on the size you install, with a federal tax credit, a potential incentive from your utility, and perhaps a group purchase as outlined in our article Solarize Plano Initiative Exceeds Expectations, you could be looking at $2-$3 per watt or less.

Texas has a wealth of responsible and qualified solar installers and we have pulled information from various sources, specifically the American Solar Energy Society, to lay out a guide for you to choose the installer that fits your specific needs. You'll know more about what to expect, what's a fair price, and how much energy you will produce if you follow these guidelines. More  
 
              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   
 Intern - Kimberly Tanner
 Editors - Lucy Stolzenburg
              Jackie O'Keefe            
    
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 Visit www.txses.org for a list of all our business supporters.  We thank all of our members, both business and individual, for supporting our mission to promote solar and renewable energy, and the wise use of all resources.