South-Facing Solar Cut Peak Demand from Grid 54% – West-Facing Systems, 65%
In most markets, rooftop solar panels are promoted as a way for electric utility customers to reduce their reliance on fossil fuel power and — eventually — save money on their electric bill. According to a new PSR Analytics report from Texas-based energy research firm Pecan Street Research Institute, residential solar systems, and particularly west-facing rooftop systems, may also act as a fairly impactful peak demand reduction device for utilities struggling to meet afternoon demand in hot summer months.
The report draws on original data from a research trial of residential solar panel performance and of how much of the rooftop generated energy was used inside the home (as opposed to sent back to the grid). The 50 single-family homes analyzed in the report are a randomly selected subset of the 175 homes with rooftop solar PV participating in the research trial. Roughly half (24) the homes studied have south-facing solar arrays, 14 have west-facing arrays, and 14 have a combination of west- and south-facing arrays. All homes are located in Austin, Texas.
“Residential solar systems have understandably raised concerns about their impact on electric reliability,” said the report’s lead author, Pecan Street CEO Brewster McCracken. “These findings suggest that rooftop solar systems can produce large summer peak reductions that benefit utilities and customers alike without requiring customers to change their behavior or sacrifice comfort.”
One surprise from the study was that west-facing solar systems in the sample actually produced more electricity than south-facing systems (on both an actual and a normalized basis). During summer peak demand hours (3-7 pm), the gap was even more pronounced: west-facing systems produced 49 percent more electricity during those hours than did south-facing systems. As a result, the report observes, utilities that offer residential rooftop solar rebates may want to extend rebate eligibility to west-facing systems and even offer higher rebate levels than is provided to south-facing systems.
The analysis focused explicitly on a single period of the year: June 1 – August 31, 2013. The summer months have more daylight hours and higher levels of seasonal electricity use for air conditioning (in areas with such demands). Summer months present very different home energy use and solar generation profiles than other seasons.
Key findings from the report include:
- Counting only the electricity generated by a rooftop solar system that is actually used in the home (and therefore not counting electricity that was sent to the grid because it could not be used in the home), homes averaged a 58 percent peak demand reduction for electricity from the grid. South-facing solar systems cut peak demand from the grid by 54%, while west-facing systems reduced their homes’ peak demand from the grid by 65%.
- During peak hours, homes used 80% of the power generated from the rooftop systems and returned 20% to the grid. In the homes with south-facing systems, 78% of the power generated was used in the home; 22% was returned to the grid. In homes with west-facing systems, 84% was used in the home; 16% was returned to the grid.
- Over the course of the full day, 64% of the energy generated by the rooftop systems was consumed on-site; 36% was returned to the grid.
- Over the course of the full day, and not including surplus energy returned to the grid, the solar systems provided 36% of the average power used per home. Nearly a third (32%) of the power was generated during peak demand hours.
About PSR Analytics and the Pecan Street Research Institute
PSR Analytics reports are produced quarterly by the Pecan Street Research Institute. Reports cover research findings from the institute’s research trials, including HVAC use, electric vehicle charging, rooftop solar PV impacts, transformer impacts from new technologies and home appliance use. The analyses are based on Pecan Street’s extensive research network of 1,000 volunteer houses, town homes and apartments in Texas, California and (starting later this fall) Colorado. PSA Analytics reports are available exclusively to Pecan Street’s industry advisory council and research clients.
The Pecan Street Research Institute is a non-profit university-based scientific research institute. The Institute’s public interest research focuses on advancing understanding and solutions addressing utility system reliability, climate change, renewable energy integration and customer needs and preferences. The Institute is the nation’s most significant creator of original customer energy use research data available to the research community. Pecan Street’s specific research expertise consists of creating, managing, protecting, analyzing and responsibly sharing the highest quality original research data on how customers use electricity, natural gas and water in their homes and businesses.
Learn more at www.pecanstreet.org.
Sixth Annual Austin Community “Green” Holiday Party
Thursday, December 19th, 2013 6pm-10pm
Hosted by Barr Mansion
10463 Sprinkle Rd., Austin, TX 78754 (www.barrmansion.com)
“Celebrating the Bounty of Winter” Menu with Barr Mansion
Also Sponsored by: Live Oak Brewing Company, Maine Root Sodas, SESA Tea and Theo Chocolate
Music by Cienfuegos
Co-Hosted by: Texas Green Network, Austin EcoNetwork, Public Citizen, Design Build Live, USGBC-Central Texas Chapter, Austin Zero Waste Alliance, Austin Clean Energy Incubator and CleanTX
Join us at the beautiful Barr Mansion, the nation’s first organic certified events facility, for an evening of music, food, drink and mingling with some of Austin’s finest environmental thought leaders. For six years running, Austin environmentalists have come together for holiday cheer at our Austin Green Holiday Party, a great chance for “cross-pollination” among local environmental orgs.
Music by Cienfuegos. Cienfuegos (http://www.musicacienfuegos.com) performs a diverse array of Latin genres with a focus on traditional Cuban styles such as Son, Bolero, Guajira, and Cha-Cha. Their sets will include original compositions and traditional Latin standards.
Hosted and Sponsored by Barr Mansion , w/dinner featuring a variety of Barr Mansion organic delights.
The Dinner Menu
“Celebrating the Bounty of Texas Winter Produce”
Barr Mansion & Artisan Ballroom Showcases the Extravagance of Organic Produce from Johnson’s Backyard Garden and Barr Mansion’s Gardens:
Brick Oven Artisan Sour Dough Bread with Texas Hill Country Olive Oil
Arugula, Lettuce, Beet, and Radish Salad with a Creamy Sorrel Dressing
Broccoli Rabe, Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Chard, Carrots and Peas with a Warm Roasted Fennel Vinaigrette
Brick Oven Roasted Veggies – Turnips, Cabbage, Winter Squash and Cauliflower
Chimichurri Roasted Potatoes and Rutabaga
House Made Sausages:
Chicken and Spinach
Asian Pork and Kohlrabi
Texas Pecan Pie
We look forward to seeing you for another great evening of dancing, food, drink and socializing to kick off our 2014 efforts.
About Our Co-Hosts –
Texas Green Network:
The Texas Green Network is the first Green Business Chamber of Commerce in Texas, a unique hybrid that combines an environmental organization and a modern Chamber of Commerce. Founded in January, 2008, TGN provides a voice for small business environmental advocacy and a connecting point for a wide variety of businesses, environmental organizations, government programs and individuals. We are known for our fun and engaging events, including Austin Earth Day Festival.
Helping Austinites lead the way as stewards of the planet’s resources, creating healthy home and work environments and contributing to a thriving local economy.
By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, cleaner cars and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen.
Design Build Live:
Design~Build~Live exists to share, practice, promote and nurture natural building and sustainable living. DBL was created by and for those who desire to live full, joyful lives that support the human spirit and honor the Earth and all her beings. We seek to design and build our homes, buildings, landscapes and entire lives thoughtfully, respectfully and beautifully. Among our offerings are monthly presentations, classes, hands-on workshops, and special educational events.
USGBC Central Texas Chapter:
The U.S. Green Building Council Central Texas – Balcones chapter (USGBC CT-B) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to accelerating the adoption of sustainable building and land development practices in Central and South Texas through education, advocacy and partnerships. Founded in 2003, USGBC CT-B has over 500 members comprising building and associated industry professionals from Austin, San Antonio, Waco, the Rio Grande Valley and the surrounding 72 counties. The Chapter’s role is to advocate for the use of high performance and sustainable development practices to local, regional and state government, educational institutions, those involved in the residential and commercial construction, development and realty sectors, and others who might influence the implementation of these practices. The Chapter hosts LEED Green Building Rating System workshops and study groups; holds educational sessions on sustainable technologies and applications, and offers networking events for the region’s green-building professionals.
Austin Zero Waste Alliance:
The Austin Zero Waste Alliance (AZWA) is a local chapter of the Central Texas Zero Waste Alliance (CTZWA). AZWA is committed to the realization of a sustainable Zero Waste economy (…or darn close) in Austin before 2040 by diverting at least 95% of waste from area landfills and incinerators through comprehensive recycling, reuse, composting, and other innovative diversion techniques. AZWA serves to promote Zero Waste in Austin by working with the general public, advocacy groups, elected officials, businesses, institutions, media, and any other relevant entities.
Austin Clean Technology Incubator:
The Austin Technology Incubator harnesses business, government and academic resources to provide strategic counsel, operational guidance, and infrastructure support to its member companies to help them transition into successful, high growth technology businesses.
Since its founding in 1989, ATI has worked with over 200 companies, helping them raise over $1 billion in investor capital. Over the past five years, including the “Great Recession,” ATI has worked with over 100 companies, helping them to raise over $250 million in investor capital. During that same 5-year period, ATI alumni companies realized approximately $400 million in exit value. Roughly 75% of companies admitted into ATI receive external funding.
ATI is committed to working with the best founding teams in Austin. Out of an annual “pipeline” of 100-150 prospective companies, ATI typically admits only 5-10 into membership in the incubator. Investors, executive talent, and mentors recognize this selectivity.
ATI is a program of the IC² Institute of The University of Texas at Austin. It has a dual mission: promote economic development in Central Texas through entrepreneurial wealth and job creation, and provide a “teaching laboratory” in applied entrepreneurship for UT-Austin students. ATI works closely with other commercially-focused and business-building programs at The University.
CleanTX is the cluster development organization for clean technology in Central Texas. Headquartered in the capital city of Austin, CleanTX is uniquely positioned at the nexus of government, industry, academia, utility and community interests. Through our advancement of public-private partnerships, leadership on community education, and networking platform for key industry stakeholders, CleanTX supports our rapidly growing clean energy economy.
Our mission is to connect the various facets of our clean energy ecosystem, and support the growth of our cleantech industry through information exchange, economic development, and international trade.
Thursday, November 21st
Texas State Capitol Building, Rm. E2.002
Free Admission & Open to All
r.s.v.p.’s at rsvpaustin@TexasGreenNetwork.org
Please join Texas Green Network and friends at the Texas State Capitol for a conversation on all things water in Texas.
On November 5th, Texas voters passed Proposition 6 which amends the Texas Constitution in redirecting $2 billion in the state budget, 20% of which go to water conservation or re-use. Major questions are now on the table regarding the direction of water resources in Texas.
Whether you are a business wanting to learn the financial opportunities in this process, concerned about the direction of $2 billion or curious how this impacts your business, the information exchange will be valuable for all.
Our Texas Water Panel –
David Meesey, Texas Water Development Board
Mr. Meesey is Program Specialist and Assistant to the Deputy Executive Administrator for Water Resources and Planning at the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). He has been the project manager for the Lower Colorado regional water planning area which includes the Austin area, since the beginning of the regional water planning program in 1998. The approved regional plans form the basis of the State Water Plan every 5 years. In addition, David is the program manager for the regional water and wastewater facility planning grant program.
Drema Gross, Water Conservation Division Manager at Austin Water
Drema Gross is a graduate of Duke University with over 15 years of experience in resource management, including air quality and energy efficiency as well as water conservation. For the last decade, she has worked to improve water efficiency and drought response in Austin, Texas by combining sound policy with consumer education and incentives. Drema leads a team of more than 20 professionals in implementing programs and practices that have reduced average per-capita water use in the rapidly-growing city by 17% since 2006. As the largest municipal user of the Colorado River, Austin has led the way in enacting drought response measures, voluntarily reducing its annual demand on the Colorado River by an estimated 25%.
Luke Metzger, Environment Texas
Luke and his statewide, nonpartisan group are working hard to get the water board to reject projects that could cause significant damage to our rivers and aquifers in favor of ones that maximize conservation and minimize harm to our environment. Learn how to advocate your business ideas to the board.
The Complete Agenda –
5:30-6:00 Check-in & Refreshments
6:00-6:15 Overview & Updates from Texas Green Network
6:15-6:45 Panel Introductions & Proposition 6 Perspectives
6:45-7:15 Q&A / Open Conversation
7:15-7:30 Options for Action – “What is Next?”
7:30-8:30 Networking & Refreshments
Learn about how Texas Green Network is your forum for environmental advocacy and a great place for networking with like-minded business leaders at the same time. Food for this event is generously provided by Snap Kitchen, along with tea and chocolate by our friends at SESA Tea and Theo Chocolate.
Water is the new $2B gorilla in the room. Can your voice be a part of making water work for Texas?
When: Tuesday, November 19th, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Where: Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto, Austin, TX 78701
Please RSVP here.
We welcome Karl Rábago to the stage to share his experiences developing the award-winning value of solar tariff with his team at Austin Energy, and advancing it across the nation.
This topic is especially relevant because Austin Energy just re-evaluated the value of solar tariff.
Karl Rábago was one of the key developers of the VOST at Austin Energy and he’s a champion of renewable energy for Texas and across the country.
For a sneak peak of a few things Karl has been working on, check out his blog, Sparks.
About Karl Rábago: Karl has over 20 years experience in electricity policy and regulation, energy markets development, and energy technology development. He operates an energy consulting practice called Rábago Energy, LLC — providing strategic, policy, regulatory, and market development consulting in the clean and innovative energy sectors. Karl serves as Chair of the Board of the Center for Resource Solutions, a San Francisco-based non-governmental organization that works to advance voluntary clean energy markets. He also sits on the Board of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). You can access Rábago’s short bio here, and his full resume here.
Solo falta un mes para el vigésimo Border Energy Forum en San Antonio, Texas! El Foro tomará lugar el 6-8 de noviembre en el Embassy Suites Riverwalk Downtown.
A special group rate of $149 per night is available at the Embassy Suites until October 15. Use code “USM.” You can make reservations online HERE or by calling 800-362-2779.
A special group rate of $106 per night is available at the Sheraton Gunter Hotel close by. Use code “Border Energy.” You can make reservations online HERE or by calling888-999-2089.
Detalles del Hotel:
Un precio especial es disponible en el Embassy Suites hasta el 15 de octubre. Use el código “USM.” Se puede hacer las reservas por internet AQUI or por llamar al 800-362-2779.
Un preceio especial es disponible en el Sheraton Gunter. Use el código “Border Energy.” Se puede hacer las reservas por internet AQUI or por llamar al 888-999-2089.
Please register at borderenergyforum.org. The cost is $175 to register in advance and $225 to register on site.
Detalles del Registro:
Por favor, inscríbense en borderenergyforum.org. El costo es $175 por adelantado y $225 en el local.
CLICK HERE to view our preliminary schedule and speaker list!
HAGA CLICK AQUI para ver el horario y la lista de oradores prliminarios.
Contact us / Contactenos
Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, & LinkedIn!
Conectese con nosotros en Facebook, Twitter, & Linked
For more information, contact Erin Autin at the Texas General Land Office: firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-463-3918.
Para mas información, contacte a Erin Autin en el Texas General Land Office: email@example.com.
TCE Turns 22!
Join us on Saturday, October 19th at Ironwood Hall to celebrate Texas Campaign for the Environment’s 22nd anniversary! Our third annual Trash Makeover Challenge is a unique competition for innovators in the fashion industry to highlight creative reuse by showcasing outfits made from recycled materials and reconstructed textiles. There will also be a silent auction filled with weekend getaway packages, fashion accessories for men and women, and stylish and sustainable items for the body, home and garden.
In 2012, amateur and professional designers turned out stunning outfits made of a wide variety of materials, guests enjoyed appetizers from The Salt Lick and browsed silent auction tables full of unique items, and a dance party followed the main event that kept attendees entertained well into the night. TCE supporters generously donated more than $44,000, we received excellent press coverage from print, television and online media, and we identified new communities and individuals to serve as allies in our efforts to improve sustainability across the state. For more on last year’s event, seeTCE’s photos on our Facebook page, blog coverage from Keep Austin Stylish and LA Fashion Snob, and local news coverage from KXAN.
This year the festivities will begin October 19th at 7:00 p.m. at Ironwood Hall, 505 East 7th Street (downtown Austin between Red River and Neches). Tickets include drinks and appetizers, and all proceeds will provide TCE with needed resources to sustain our mission of protecting our quality of life, health, communities and the environment.
USGBC Central Texas – Balcones Chapter Monthly Meeting:
“What’s New – Commissioning & The Codes “
Thursday, October 17, 2013
11:30am – 1:00pm
Earn 1 LEED-Specific GBCI and 1 AIA CE Credit!
Join USGBC at our informative monthly meetings – network with fellow professional colleagues, enjoy a delicious lunch, and learn valuable insight from regional high-level experts about a hot topic affecting the green building industry.
This is an introductory course for anyone interested in acquiring a better understanding of the commissioning process and its requirements as defined by LEEDv4, “the codes” and ASHRAE Standard 202.
For event details, click here.
Design Build Live October Event
Austin Food Coop’s new location at
4001 S. Lamar
Wednesday, October 16th
Design~Build~Live hosts a presentation by Branson Fustes of Pilgrim Building Company, speaking on “Rammed Earth Wall Systems.” Branson’s builders have a unique local track record offering this thermally massive, non-combustible, beautiful and durable Natural Building style. Come join us in WV’s new community room!
DBL presentations are Free and open to the public. Bring friends with you! We’re a volunteer-run educational organization & Donations at the door are always appreciated, no RSVPs. For details, call Scott Clay at 512-689-1149 or visit www.designBuildLive.org.
Friday, October 4, 2013
8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Reception to follow
LBJ School of Public Affairs
University of Texas at Austin
2315 Red River Street
Bass Lecture Hall
This ground-breaking symposium brings Capital Area stakeholders together for the first time, to hear leading experts, identify and assess the shared regional challenges we face, and discuss how to adapt to climate change.
It provides a forum for learning about local climate vulnerability, and for sharing best practices in climate resilience planning. Topics include:
• Regional climate vulnerability
• Data from local research
• How to begin resilience planning
• Local, national and international best practices
• Current efforts of regional agencies and governments
• Collaborative opportunities in Central Texas
• Center for Politics and Governance, UT Austin
• City of Austin, Office of Sustainability
• Georgetown Climate Center
• Institute for Sustainable Communities
• Adaptation International
• The Texas Drought Project
• The Texas Observer
Register and learn more at: www.txclimadapt.com
Discover innovations in sustainability at the SXSW Eco Exhibition
FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Hours: Monday, October 7th 10:30am – 2pm | 3pm – 5:30pm
Tuesday, October 8th 10:30am – 2pm | 3pm – 5:30pm
Center for Maximum Building Potential Systems
Presidio Graduate Institute
and over 20 startups in Startup central!
In addition to over 50 exhibitors, highlights include:
Daily Meet Ups
Hacker Lounge presented by Cleanweb
Maker Space presented by Autodesk
Startup Networking Lounge