Saturday, December 28, 2013

Solarize YOUR Neighborhood

What IS a "solarize" event??

Let's explain by asking .. are you ready to generate some or all of the electricity you need right at home? Are you ready to go solar, but not sure where to start? Are you ready to tap that untapped local energy resource – the SUN?

On January 11, from 10am to Noon, join the North Texas Renewable Energy Group and Plano Solar Advocates to discuss the "Solarize" concept. "Solarize" is a group bulk-purchase process that can help neighborhoods and cities install rooftop solar photovoltaics at reduced cost. Come join us (and bring your neighbor!) to learn how you can start a Solarize program in your neighborhood! 

Topics for discussion: Program setup. Outreach and Education. Selecting a Solar Company. Install Solar!

The goal of the meeting will be to begin creating a network of people across the DFW area that are interested in launching projects in their own communities.  For example, a group in Garland has already started getting together. If you live in Garland, check out Solarize Garland and reach out to this group using their contact us form.

For more meeting details and logistics, check out the NTREG Events page - - and scroll down to the section titled NTREG Monthly Meeting, Saturday, January 11, 2014.

For some background before you attend, check out:

  1. This great - short - 3 minute video - Purchasing Solar Collectively with Solarize
  2. These recent articles about Solarize Plano:
    1. "Solarize Plano" Initiative Exceeds Installation Expectations in Energy-Rich Texas
    2. Grass-roots group hopes to make Plano a solar power leader
Also, if you know of any DFW area solarize projects being launched or groups that are considering to start projects, please share information in the comments to this posting.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Solarize Plano Awarded "Local Initiative of the Year" by the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association

The Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association (TREIA) is a non-profit trade association of companies and individuals engaged in renewable energy in Texas.  TREIA has been an advocate for clean energy, energy security, energy independence, and Texas jobs since 1984.  (For more background, see

Every year, TREIA organizes an annual conference called the Texas Renewables Conference (see  This year's conference was held in San Antonio, Nov 11-13. The conference program covered four important topical areas:
  • Renewable Energy Opportunities Related to Fossil Fuels
  • Market Opportunities and Economic Development in Rural Texas
  • Renewable Energy Opportunities with the Defense Community
  • Innovative Renewable Energy Policies and Projects Across the State
Also, on an annual basis, TREIA's Award Committee identifies organizations, projects, and individuals to honor at the conference for their contributions to renewable energy in Texas.  This year's awards included:
  • Project of the Decade
  • Local Advocate of the Year
  • Local Initiative of the Year
  • Statewide Collaborative of the Year
  • Community Project of the Year
  • Community of the Year
  • Individual Member of the Year
Plano Solar Advocates was very excited and honored to be recognized as the award recipient for the "Local Initiative of the Year".  When introducing this award, Mark Begert of the TREIA Awards Committee, gave this introduction.

"TREIA's 2013 Local Initiative of the Year, recognizes an outstanding, promising, and replicable effort that can serve as a model to grow renewable energy in Texas. This year’s Local Initiative of the Year is the Solarize Plano Project, organized by Plano Solar Advocates.

The Solarize Plano Project demonstrates how great things can come in small packages. The program connects residential homeowners that are ready to install solar, with local, qualified installers and available incentives via a group purchase process that benefits both customers and installers.

For customers, the process gets questions answered up front, provides a means of self-screening, and increases customer satisfaction throughout the quote and installation process. By purchasing as a group, customers receive a standard system design at the lowest possible cost.

For installers, much of the up-front work of educating and qualifying customers is already complete, so they are able to more efficiently serve those who ultimately choose to contract for solar. Installers were asked to submit pricing in tiers depending on the total capacity contracted, the more solar contracted, the lower the price.

Solarize Plano initially targeted 20 enrollees in their community, and in their first pilot this year they achieved enrollment of over 200. The project selected a contractor, Axium Solar, who has completed over 52 site assessments resulting in commitments 25 contracts for 120 kW of new solar, a volume that has entitled all enrollees to the lowest cost pricing tier.

Solarize Plano is replicable model and demonstrates how the initiative of just a few individuals can make a lasting change for the better."

To learn more about the awards and award recipients, see the photographs section of  TEXAS RENEWABLES 2013 Wrap-Up. At this website, you can also check out all the presentations from the conference speakers, including Plano Solar Advocates' presentation, Solarize Plano - Educating the Community, Facilitating Installations.

And great news for the DFW area, the 2014 conference will be held in Dallas.  Learn more at Texas Renewables 2014

Plano Solar Advocates would like to thank TREIA for this award, and strongly encourages neighborhoods and communities across the state to join together to initiate SOLARIZE projects in their communities, and to take advantage of that locally available untapped energy resource - energy from the SUN!