Every year, TREIA organizes an annual conference called the Texas Renewables Conference (see www.texasrenewables.org). 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
- 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
"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!