The Solar Reflector      
                Newsletter of the Texas Solar Energy Society - August 2016              

We need your support to make 2016 an exceptional year for the adoption of solar in Texas. 


Events on the Solar Horizon

Fall is a busy time for learning about solar in Texas. In conjunction with the American Solar Energy Society National Solar Tour, you have the opportunity to increase your knowledge of clean, water wise and sustainable solar power!

This is a powerhouse of a solar tour for the Dallas/Ft Worth community. Our North Texas chapter NTREG steps out to stage their 7th annual event.

A collaboration of TXSES and Pedernales Electric. Since the first solar tour with PEC in 2011, the electric coop has seen an explosion of solar installations - from under 100 to 1,100+. This event features  Solar 101, the self-guided tour, a solar installers fair, kids workshops and much more!

Bluebonnet Electric Coop Solar Tour, Oct. 15
We are in the planning stages for our first solar tour with Bluebonnet Electric. Last year's Bastrop Solar Tour was a success and Bluebonnet will expand on that initial tour.

San Antonio loves a party and this year's Solar Fest at Roosevelt Park will not disappoint. Build San Antonio Green/Bring Solar HomeFood trucks, music and oh yes- lots of information on sustainable practices and of course solar.  Sign up for energy efficiency programs as well as the newly launched Solar Host Program. Ride your bike to the Fest!
Our Chapters

Remember that we have chapters in North Texas, Austin, San Antonio and Houston, all working to promote the value and adoption of clean, sustainable solar power.
Check out our calendar for more events around the state and the nation.

We are proud members of EarthShare Texas, who works to raise funds for over three dozen environmental non-profits in the state. If your company is interested in a workplace giving campaign, please let ESTx know. They also partner with H-E-B for that tear pad campaign you see at the checkout counters in April. Thanks to all Texans who pulled a $1, $3 or $5 coupon in Earth Month! 

EarthShare also partners with Reliant Energy customers for Reliant's 
EcoShare program. Another opportunity to support those environmental non-profits. And us!

TXSES is a Chapter of the American Solar Energy Society
ASES has been shining a light on the solution since 1954.

Chairman's Corner
Ross Pumfrey
As of August 2016 the future of solar energy is brighter than ever. Installations of solar capacity are expected to double this year, both in Texas and nationally, compared to 2015. And prices continue to fall.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has recently released a draft assessment of eight scenarios for the Texas grid between now and 2030, and all of them indicate that solar will constitute a majority of all new generation capacity-in some scenarios, all the new capacity.

Barring a reversal of national policies or interventions by our state legislature, there appears to be little to prevent utility-scale solar farms from expanding as expected.  Read More

Big Win for Solar in the Sun City

By Robert Moss, Eco-El Paso
An electric utility rate case of particular concern to solar advocates in the El Paso area appears to be successfully resolved. Parties to the dispute filed their unanimous settlement with the Texas Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in July. Final approval from that body is expected.

The Rate Case

In August 2015, El Paso Electric (EPE) filed a proposal to create a new punitive rate class for solar residents, adding burdensome solar surcharges and a new three-part rate structure with peak demand charges. Although an investor-owned utility, EPE maintains a monopoly in the El Paso area subsequent to Texas' deregulation law passed in 1999 because that area is not located within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

EPE contended that homeowners with solar panels effectively raised the costs of service for other customers, even though most studies around the country have concluded otherwise. Read More

From Sand to Cell, Reinventing Solar

By Ron Zagarri, TXSES
As promising as it is dynamic and complex, solar innovation is taking place at a rapid rate, and a few companies are positioning themselves to play pivotal roles in the future of energy.
The manufacture of solar cells, the solid-state backbone of a photovoltaic (PV) module, relies on intricate supply chains spread across the globe. Anything but simple to make, cells undergo dozens of complex fabrication processes before ending up on your roof.
Along with our TXSES Board Chair and Executive Director, I recently attended the 2016 American Solar Energy Society (ASES) meeting, jointly held this year with InterSolar North America. The largest solar conference and exhibition in the U.S., InterSolar featured several presentations by industry executives on how we can drive down the cost of solar cells in coming years. Read More

A Holistic Approach to Harnessing the Sun

At the 2016 TXSES Annual Meeting earlier this year, we were reminded that today's emphasis on solar PV may make us forget that the first approach to addressing our hot and humid Central Texas climate involves thoughtful passive solar design. We invited Peter Pfeiffer to expand on this important component of our built environment.

By Peter L. Pfeiffer, FAIA
As costs for solar photovoltaic systems continue their downward trajectory, energy from the sun becomes an increasingly compelling choice for homes and businesses. I served on the board of the Texas Solar Energy Society during its very early years and have been a member for three decades. As such, I see the current resurgence and am glad for it.
However, study after study shows the most cost effective energy strategy is simply using less. Although most conservation measures are not free, many are very inexpensive compared to the alternatives. These techniques often involve dealing with solar energy in a passive fashion, without resorting to mechanical or electrical devices.
Last time I checked, nobody was giving away prizes for the highest energy use in my neighborhood. But we are all eligible for monthly prizes for saving energy - the reward of a lower electric bill. These savings can quickly recoup your initial conservation investment and preserve your cash for more important things in life. 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. 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. 

Board Officers
Ross Pumfrey Chairman  (Austin)
Larry Howe - Vice Chair(Plano)
Bill Glass - Secretary (Austin)
Nathan Doxsey Treasurer (Austin) 
Board Members at Large
D.J. Rosebaugh (Austin)
Richard Behlmann (Katy)
Paul Gonin (Georgetown)
Ron Zagarri (Austin)      
Chapter Representatives to the Board
Bill Swann - Houston Renewable Energy Group (HREG)
Leslie Libby - Solar Austin 
Lissa Magel - North Texas Renewable Energy Group (NTREG)
Kate Rodriguez - Build San Antonio Green/Bring Solar Home
Executive Director - Lucy Stolzenburg 
Solar Reflector Editor - Ron Zagarri 
Solar Reflector Copy Editor- Sarah Weber 
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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 educate Texans on the value of solar and encourage its adoption through local Texas businesses.