Links to Renewable Energy Resources & Energy Conservation Information
Updated: June 18, 2014.


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Agencies

Annual Events

Associations & Organizations

Building and Construction Information

Education in Renewable Energy

Employment - Jobs in Renewable Energy and Related Fields

Financial & Tax Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Legislation - Federal & State

Legislation - Planning & Zoning and Ordinances

Mortgages - Energy Efficient Mortgage and Loan Information from the FHA, VA, HUD

Publications

Purchase Incentives, Rebates & Tax Credits for Renewables and Efficiency Steps

Reference Sites

Solar Cooking

Teacher Resources

Water Conservation & Rainwater Collection



Agencies

Energy Information Administration
EIA - Electricity Data, Electric Power Capacity and Fuel Use, Electric Surveys and Analysis.

Energy Star
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. Energy Star Products, home improvement, new home construction, and more.

Texas State Energy Conservation Office ("SECO")
SECO has tips and tools for residential energy consumers, state and local government, business and industry, as well as resources for schools and teachers to reduce energy costs and maximize efficiency.

U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network
Information on biomass, geothermal technologies, solar energy, hydrogen, weatherization, and more. Includes materials for students and educators.

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Annual Events

Prairie Fest (last Saturday of April)
To promote the conservation and restoration of Tandy Hills Natural Area (THNA) as a rare remaining example of native prairie that was indigenous to most of the Fort Worth area.

Mayfest (first weekend in May)
Mayfest commemorates the Trinity River as a natural resource and community asset by creating opportunities for use and enjoyment.

Solar Car Challenge for High School Students (July)
The Solar Car Challenge was established in 1993 to help motivate high school students in science and engineering, and to increase alternative energy awareness. The Challenge, which began as part of The Winston School Solar Science Academy, teaches high school students around America and around the world how to build and race roadworthy solar cars. Students themselves design, construct, and drive the cars. This is a very remarkable event!

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Associations & Organizations

American Solar Energy Society
The ASES leads a national effort to promote solar energy education and increased use of solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable technologies in the U.S.

American Wind Energy Assoc.
AWEA promotes wind energy as a clean source of electricity for consumers around the world. They offer publications, information resources, news, and events related to residential and commercial wind generated electricity.

City of Irving Green Web Page
The City of Irving is proud to introduce the "Think Green, Be Green" Web site, designed to provide an opportunity to discover, learn, and implement suggestions to become stewards of the environment.

EarthShare of Texas
EarthShare of Texas, a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation, is committed to making environmental support as easy as possible by giving working people the ability to donate through workplace payroll contribution campaigns. Today EarthShare of Texas represents and supports more than 70 of America's most respected environmental and conservation groups, including 39 national organizations and hundreds of local groups in 18 affiliate states. Texas Solar Energy Society is supported in part through fundraising efforts by EarthShare of Texas.

North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners ("NABCEP")
The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners supports and works with the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries to develop and implement quality credentialing and certification programs for practitioners (installers). NABCEP maintains a Directory of Certified Installers by state. This is the list for Texas.

Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association ("TREIA")
TREIA represents over 500 member companies, organizations, agencies and individuals providing products, services and information in the areas of solar electric generation, solar hot water, large and small-scale wind electric generation, biomass electric generation and liquid renewable fuels, geothermal heating and cooling, geothermal electric generation, and sustainable (green) building design and construction.

Texas Solar Energy Society ("TXSES")
TXSES Mission: To increase awareness of the potential of solar energy and other renewable energy applications and to promote the wise use of sustainable and non-polluting resources.

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Building and Construction Information

Efficient Windows Collaborative
Efficient Windows Collaborative ("EWC") members have made a commitment to manufacture and promote energy-efficient windows. This site provides unbiased information on the benefits of energy-efficient windows, descriptions of how they work, and recommendations for their selection and use.

National Fenestration Rating Council
A nonprofit, public/private organization created by the window, door, and skylight industry. It is composed of manufacturers, suppliers, researchers, architects and designers, code officials, utilities, and government agencies. The NFRC has developed a window energy rating system based on whole product performance. The NFRC label provides the only reliable way to determine the window energy properties and to compare products.

Sustainable Buildings Industry Council ("SBIC")
The SBIC Mission: To unite and inspire the building industry toward higher performance through education, outreach, advocacy, and the mutual exchange of ideas.

U.S. Building Council - "The Green Home Guide" ("USGBC")
The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit composed of leaders from every sector of the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work.

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Education

Many U.S. colleges and universities offer courses, Associate Degrees, and advanced degrees for solar energy and renewable energy technologies. The following list of institutes, colleges, and universities, derived from the US Department of Energy and other sources, though comprehensive, is not intended to be exhaustive. National and on-line courses are listed first, followed by educational institutions organized alphabetically by state.

 

On Line Courses

International Center for Appropriate & Sustainable Technology
Online courses offered: Residential Energy Efficiency Auditor, Solar Power Systems Installation, Residential Energy Efficiency Installation, and Introduction to the Wind Energy Industry.

NTER National Training & Eduction Resource - Photovoltaic Online Training For Code Officials
This course is worth 6 continuing education credits hours (or 0.6 IAEI CEUs). (Note: FIREFOX or Google "CHROME" browser required. Internet Explorer and other browsers are not yet supported as of January 10, 2013). For additional assistance or information, visit the course website.

University of Dayton, Master of Science in Renewable and Clean Energy
Online Master of Science in Renewable and Clean Energy. The online M.S. in Renewable and Clean Energy helps students obtain an understanding of energy-reducing design techniques, and renewable energy and manufacturing systems. The online curriculum is identical to the on-campus program.

Solar Pro Magazine National Training Course Listings
More than 300 training courses offered throughout the United States and other countries. Course complexities range from introductory beginner level to expert professional.

 

Nationwide Courses

US Department of Energy
Extensive lists of courses. Type "Solar courses" into the search box and select from the extensive list of information. Optionally, click on the link of interest to you in the "Energy Efficiency" or "Renewable Energy" columns.

Evergreen Institute
The Evergreen Institute offers nationally recognized certificates in Residential Renewable Energy, Residential Green Building, and Renewable Energy Educator. Evergreen Institute's Center for Renewable Energy and Green Building offers hands-on workshops in solar electricity (photovoltaics), wind energy, solar hot water (solar thermal) systems, and passive solar heating and cooling. They also offer workshops in residential energy efficiency, natural building, straw bale building, natural plasters, and green building. Solar training and green building workshops are geared to a diverse audience of homeowners, professionals, aspiring professionals, and educators. The Evergreen Institute is a nationally accredited training center, so classes in solar electricity and wind energy satisfy requirements for NABCP solar PV and small wind installation certificates. Their solar PV and small wind courses satisfy all of the Task Analyses required for NABCEP certification. Solar and wind energy workshops and green building and natural building workshops are primarily taught at Evergreen's facility in Gerald, Missouri, but are also offered in Denver, Colorado in conjunction with the Continuing Education Program of the University of Colorado in Boulder. Solar training and wind energy workshops are also offered in Western New York at Evergreen's educational center in Clarendon near Rochester, NY; in St. Louis, Missouri in conjunction with various organizations including Show Me Solar and the St. Louis chapter of the USGBC, and in Kansas City, Missouri in conjunction with Hathmore Technologies.
 

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Arizona

Arizona State University, School of Sustainability, Tempe, Arizona.
Arizona State University's School of Sustainability is a comprehensive degree-granting program with a transdisciplinary focus on finding real-world solutions to environmental, economic, and social challenges.

Coconino Community College, Flagstaff, Arizona.
Associate of Applied Science in Alternative Energy Technology will provide students with the skills to pursue a career in the Alternative Energy field. The student will be instructed through mastery learning components and field study workshops arranged with local contractors.

Pima Community College, Tucson, Arizona.
Designed for individuals with building trades experience, this certificate provides Photovoltaic Installer preparation training for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Photovoltaic Installer Certification exam and the Photovoltaic Installer Advanced Certification exam.

Solar Institute, Tucson, Arizona.
The Solar Institute is a nationally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that conducts research and offers a broad range of information, consulting and referral services for effectively applying sustainability on a practical and cost-effective basis for individuals, communities, businesses and governments. Solar Institute services include planning, design, construction, renovation and improvement of homes, buildings, communities, landscapes and ecosystems.

 

Arkansas

John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas.
Students in the program will study wind, solar and biomass energy. They will also gain practical experience in designing, constructing and monitoring renewable energy systems. Program details can be obtained here.

 

California

Deanza College, Cupertino, California.
Students in Deanza College's Environmental Studies are trained for career opportunities in some of the fastest growing fields in the country. Participants range from entry-level students to trained professionals.

Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill and San Ramon, California.
This program prepares students for jobs installing, designing, servicing and maintaining photovoltaic systems. Students from this program will be able to work with residential, commercial and industrial size photovoltaic systems. Many of the skills learned in these courses relate to solar thermal systems as well. For students with no previous education or experience in the building fields, upon completion of the certificate of achievement/associate degree requirements in photovoltaic systems, you will be prepared for entry level jobs as photovoltaic systems installers, designers, and sales people.

East Los Angeles Skills Center, Los Angeles, California.
Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, ELASC is a full-time Employment Preparation and Training Center operated by the Los Angeles Unified School District's Division of Adult and Career Education. ELASC offers PV Installer Introduction and Certification preparation courses.

Green Career Institute, San Francisco, California.
Green Career Institute offers courses that provide the necessary skill sets needed for the sustainability industry. GCI offers live classroom, hands-on training, and self-paced on-demand online training developed by industry-experienced educators.

Humboldt State University, Arcata, California.
Humboldt State University's Environmental Resources Engineering (ERE) program prepares its students to design innovative systems that sustainably manage the earth's air, water, land, and energy resources. Environmental engineering programs focus on conventional engineering problems and solutions by combining traditional environmental engineering with management of natural resources in applications such as ecological restoration and energy resource management.

MiraCosta College, Ramona, California.
MiraCosta College's Alternative Energy Program offers unique "one-week" Solar and Telecommunications training courses tailored to individuals wanting to enter the fields of Solar Photovoltaic (Solar Energy) and Small Wind energies. Other course topics include Solar Business Strategies, Small Wind Generation Fundamentals, and Solar Photovoltaics (PV) - Our Solar Energy PV training course follows the NABCEP Learning Objectives.

Solar Living Institute, Hopland, California.
Established in 1998, the Solar Living Institute in Hopland, CA, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a national reputation for solar training and sustainable living education. Its mission is to promote sustainable living through inspirational environmental education.

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Santa Rosa, California.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Photovoltaic Design & Installation. This is a continuing education class with 36 CEU.

Skyline College, San Bruno, California.
Skyline College, in collaboration with the San Mateo County Workforce Investment Board, is offering a Career Certificate in Solar Installation and Integration focused to transition dislocated workers and veterans released after 2003 into positions in the Clean Energy Industry. More information is available directly from the college.

Solar Training Institute, San Jose, California.
The Solar Training Institute provides accelerated training classes for contractors, electricians, engineers, solar energy entrepreneurs, sales people and anyone who is considering a career change in the growing solar industry. Solar training programs, which are based on NABCEP task analysis, are structured to help individuals and licensed contractors get in, get out and get into the solar industry or solar job market. Courses in Photovoltaic (PV) system design, installation, OSHA Safety, and solar sales help business owners and workers meet the requirements of launching a solar panel installation business or finding green collar jobs in the solar industry.

Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California.
An interdisciplinary science-based study plan for students who intend to pursue a career or graduate study in a variety of fields related to conservation, restoration, and management of habitats, ecosystems, and biological resources. Electives in the plan are organized to facilitate a double major or minor in biology or geography.

University of California at Berkeley, Energy and Resources Group, Berkeley, California.
Established as an academic degree-granting program at UC Berkeley in 1973, ERG has become a unique interdisciplinary community of graduate students, core faculty, and over 100 affiliates and researchers. ERG produces cutting edge research to inform scientific, policy, and business communities. ERG is an intellectual hub for research on clean energy, climate science, ecosystems and biodiversity, energy systems, international development, technology and society, and water policy. Programs of study in Energy & Resources lead to MA, MS, and PhD degrees, as well as an undergraduate minor.

University of California Extension Specialized Programs, Berkeley, California.
If you are a post-baccalaureate architect, planner, engineer, builder, construction manager, facility manager, LEED consultant, project manager, utility manager, policy maker, attorney, developer, investor, real estate professional, or entrepreneur, this program offers you the essential resources to plan effectively your career in the solar and green building industry.

University of California, Energy Efficiency Center, Davis, California.
The UC Energy Efficiency Center's mission is to accelerate the development and commercialization of energy efficiency technologies and to train future leaders in energy efficiency.

 

Colorado

Arapahoe Community College, Littleton, Colorado
Offering courses in: Solar Thermal Systems, Energy Analysis (Auditing), Energy Technology, Environmental Science, Solar Photovoltaic Systems, and Solar Thermal Systems.

Solar Energy International ("SEI"),Carbondale, Colorado.
SEI is a USA non-profit organization whose mission is to help others use renewable energy and environmental building technologies through education. SEI teaches individuals from all walks of life how to design, install and maintain renewable energy systems, and how to design and build efficient, sustainable homes. SEI offers trainings online and in 22 locations around the world.

 

Delaware

University of Delaware, Institute of Energy Conversion, Newark, Delaware.
IEC provides students with opportunities ranging from purely theoretical research to laboratory work geared toward practical applications. Students involved with IEC learn how to interact effectively with engineers and scientists engaged in long-term research programs in photovoltaics. IEC has collaborated with the University of Delaware's Center for Energy and Environmental Policy in its effort to educate the public on the need for photovoltaic electric power generation as part of our national environmental and energy policy.

 

Florida

Florida Solar Energy Centger, Cocoa, Florida.
A a research institute of the University of Central Florida, the Florida Solar Energy Center works with educators to engage and interest students of all levels (K-12, college, and post-grads) to help create a brighter energy future. Select the "Education Link" for a wealth of educational resources.

 

Illinois

Illinois State University Department of Sustainability, Normal, Illinois.
The ISU Renewable Energy Degree program is designed to prepare students to enter an emerging field with employment opportunities across a variety of industries including biofuels, solar, wind, regulatory and government agencies.

 

Massachusetts

Boston University Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, Boston, Massachusetts.
The Center for Energy and Environmental Studies engages in education, research, and professional training in the fields of energy and environmental analysis.

University of Massachusetts Amherst Wind Energy Center, Amherst, Massachusetts.
Since 1972, the University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center has been a leading institution in wind energy engineering nationally and internationally. The Center hosts the country's oldest energy education program, offering Masters and Doctoral-level degrees in wind energy.

 

Michigan

Macomb Community College, Warren, Michigan.
MCC's Renewable Energy Technology Certificate provides the knowledge and skills required for positions involving the integration of renewable energy applications in a variety of business and industrial environments. The certificate focuses on a "holistic" approach, emphasizing the importance of scientific principles coupled with industrial processes, professional proficiencies, and practical laboratory experiences. Examples of some of the course topics are: hybrid electric vehicles, wind, solar electricity, biomass, geothermal energy, fuel cells, renewable energy power systems, and photovoltaic design and installation.

Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City, Michigan.
Northwestern Michigan College offers energy training in Solar Photovoltaic Systems; Geothermal; wind power; building analysis and performance; advanced solar photovoltaics, and the Solar PV NABCEP test.

Oakland Community College, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Oakland Community College's alternate energy classes focus on harnessing energy from renewable sources - sun, wind, water, underground (geothermal) heat, and growing plants. Energy management, energy efficiency and energy conservation are all covered. OCC offers a Certificate of Achievement and a Certificate in Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living. In addition, the Environmental Systems Technology Program has four options to meet students needs, including a customized option for students with a previous background in renewables. Options cover: 1) heating, cooling and refrigeration technicians; 2) facilities management; and 3) green building, renewable energies, and energy management.

 

Montana

University of Montana, Missoula, Montana.
The University of Montana Energy Technology Program introduces students to the full suite of energy systems and technologies - traditional and renewable - and prepares them for careers in the rapidly expanding energy industry. Graduates of the program are general practitioners skilled in design, installation, maintenance, and operation of energy systems; site identification and assessment; structural audits for energy efficiency and conservation; project management; regulatory compliance; and basic economic, environmental and social impact assessments.

 

New Mexico

San Juan College, Farmington, New Mexico.
The Renewable Energy Program gives a solid foundation in the fundamental design and installation techniques. Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal Systems is offered as an A.A.S. Degree and/or a One-Year Certificate. Both avenues include hands-on training in our laboratory setting where the National Electrical Code is emphasized. While the Passive Solar Design and Analysis program has a strong focus on photovoltaics, it also covers understanding energy quantification, usage and conservation along with building energy analysis emphasizing passive solar design. Additionally, active solar thermal systems for space and domestic water heating are covered.

Santa Fe Community College, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
SFCC's Solar Energy certificate program provides the skills required to design, plan, install and troubleshoot photovoltaic solar electric energy systems. The certificate also includes a foundation in AC and DC electricity, grid-tie applications, and an introduction to solar thermal systems.

 

New York

Ulster County Community College, Stone Ridge, New York.
Comprehensive 64-hour certificate series designed for those with little knowledge of Photovoltaics (PV) systems. This certificate consists of a focused curriculum of six core courses detailing Mathematics & Electrical Theory, Photovoltaics Systems Design, Worker Safety and Controlling Electrical Hazards, Battery Workshop, Hands-on Photovoltatics Installation Workshop, and PV Systems Review. This certificate series is tailored to those students who are looking for a hands-on, slower paced approach with more individual attention than our standard Photovoltaics Installer's Course.

 

North Carolina

Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina.
Appalachian is committed to protecting the environment and promoting sustainability in the forms of alternative energy, economic development and research that benefits the state, nation and world. More than 60 faculty members in various disciplines focus their research in these areas. Appalachian's environmental leadership is evident through its sustainable development program, appropriate technology program, environmental science degree program, Appalachian Energy Center, biodiesel research, student-led Renewable Energy Initiative and Sustainable Energy Society, and more.

 

Oregon

Northwest Energy Education Institute, Eugene, Oregon.
Renewable Energy Technician Program. This professional technical program is offered as a second year option within the Energy Management Program. The coursework prepares students for employment designing and installing solar electric and domestic hot water systems. An advisory committee made up of renewable energy practitioners guides program development. Renewable students, along with Energy Management students, take a first-year curriculum in commercial energy efficiency giving them a solid background that includes residential energy efficiency, HVAC systems, lighting, and the usual requirement of physics and math.

Oregon Institute of Technology, Klamath Falls, Oregon.
The OIT Environmental Sciences program builds on principles of hands-on learning, in-depth understanding of scientific principles, and application of knowledge to real-world environmental challenges. The curriculum is designed for completion in 4 years. Students can choose an emphasis area in watershed science, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), or sustainable technologies, or take courses from all emphasis areas. Students can also take advantage of research opportunities focusing on vegetation response to wetlands restoration, climate change impacts in National Parks, and amphibian ecology at Crater Lake National Park.

Portland Community College, Portland, Oregon.
Comprehensive Renewable Energy Systems (RES) training offering in the State of Oregon preparing technicians for solar power, wind power, fuel cell and other renewable energy fields. Graduates can be hired as technicians in the wind manufacturing/servicing, solar manufacturing/installation, fuel cell, and other renewable energy areas. Offering AAS degrees in Energy Management, Renewable Energy Technician, Water Conservation Technician. Certification in Sustainable Building Advisor, Residential Energy Auditor, Building Operators Certification, Energy Management Certification..

 

Pennsylvania

Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania.
Slippery Rock University Environmental Science program is the integration of scientific knowledge from many disciplines in order to understand the interrelationships between human activities and the environment. Environmental Science majors are exposed to general principles of biology, chemistry, geology, geography, meteorology, and physics.

 

Texas

Alamo College, San Antonio, Texas.
Alamo College offers courses in alternative energy technologies including green entrepreneurship, photovoltaics and solar panel installation, wind, wind turbine troubleshooting, and more.

Cedar Valley College, Dallas County Community College District, Lancaster, Texas.
If you're interested in a "green" career, Cedar Valley College offers a specialized degree for building performance specialists and is one of the few colleges that offer technical training in fields related to energy efficiency and green building technology. Cedar Valley College currently offers credit courses and certificates in the green building field. This includes information about HERS and LEED rating concepts.

Dallas County Community College District
Renewable/Sustainable Energy offered by the Dallas Community College District is one of a number of green programs growing in the Dallas County Community College District. DCCCD offers a core associate degree designed for a broad foundation of understanding renewable and sustainable energy sources, plus a certificate with options for learning to install solar and wind turbine devices for both residential and commercial use.

Imagine Solar, Austin, Texas.
Imagine Solar offers in-classroom and on-line courses in PV system design and installation, utility-scale photovoltaic systems, and NABCEP exam preparation. Technical Sales Workshops and Courses include "Business Professional Series", Introduction to PV Technical Sales and Marketing, and consulting services based on ISPQ Standards.

Tarrant County College, Fort Worth, Texas.
Courses in renewable energy are presently offered at the South Campus only. 5301 Campus Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76119. For more information, call 817-515-8223, or contact Tomas Hart, Department Chair, 817-515-4529, thomas.hart@tccd.edu

Texas State Technical College, Waco, Texas.
TSTC's course offerings include classes in solar photovoltaics, wind energy, fuel cells, alternative fuels, and other areas.

 

Washington

Lake Washington Technical College, Kirkland, Redmond, and Duvall Washington.
Energy & Science Technician Degree. The Energy & Science Technician AAS degree prepares students to meet the increasing demand for jobs related to green technology and alternative energy. The program prepares students for employment as tech-nicians in areas such as biomedical and industrial laboratories, manufacturing operations, energy companies, and environmental positions in public and private institutions. Graduates will be qualified to serve as technical representatives across a range of industries that include developmental technologies in the renewable energy field.

Shoreline Community College, Shoreline, Washington.
Professional/Technical Programs in Solar and Zero Energy Technology, Shoreline Community College offers courses online and on-campus in solar energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable practices.

Washington State University, Pullman, Washington.
Offering courses in bioenergy, geothermal systems, hydrogen & fuel cells, solar and wind energy.

 

Wisconsin

Consortium for Education in Renewable Energy Technologies, Madison, Wisconsin.
CERET Offers an extensive list of technical training and education courses to incumbent workers, students, and teachers in renewable energy technologies. Working together, CERET partners provide training for the renewable energy workforce, and collaborate to offer a Renewable Energy Certificate for individuals pursuing careers as renewable energy technicians. To insure that college and high school faculty have the necessary knowledge and experience in renewable energy technology, CERET also conducts workshops and professional development courses for science, engineering, and technical education teachers. Courses include: Solar & Other Renewable Energy Systems; Energy Management; Solar Electric Fundamentals and Grid-Direct Design; Off-grid solar electric systems; Alternative fuels; Hybrid vehicles; Photovoltaic Systems, Basic to Advanced; Solar hot water systems; Wind power; Anaerobic Digester Technology; and Wood Combustion Heating Systems.

Midwest Renewable Energy Association, Custer, Wisconsin.
MREA is a national leader in providing high quality education and training programs for consumers, businesses, and renewable energy system installers. For more than 18 years, MREA has offered workshops, seminars, and conferences that demonstrate that renewable energy is practical, reliable, and ready for mainstream use.

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College's Associate Degree programs are offered in Energy Management Technology and Solar Energy Technology.

University of Wisconsin Solar Energy Laboratory, Madison, Wisconsin.
Recognized nationally and internationally for accomplishments in practical applications for solar energy. UW-Madison's Solar Energy Laboratory was awarded the highest distinction given by the International Solar Energy Society, the Weeks Award, for outstanding achievements in developing practical uses of solar energy. The goal of the laboratory is to educate students through research experiences in solar and conventional energy utilization, and to remain on the competitive edge of new developments. The Solar Energy Laboratory emphasizes applications of engineering fundamentals to energy problems, and leads students to advanced degrees in mechanical and chemical engineering. Graduates obtain positions in industry, government laboratories and academic settings. Many students have taken research and development jobs in large heating, ventilating and air conditioning firms, control companies, renewable and conventional energy firms, and consulting architectural and engineering firms involved in engineering applications.

 

Employment - Jobs in Renewable Energy and Related Fields

American Wind Energy Association

Bio-fuel Jobs

Environmental Career Center

Environmental Career Opportunities

Glass Door Jobs Board
Enter your job field and location. Reports to list more than 600 "renewable energy" jobs in Texas. (Many of the jobs listed are commission-only, often repeatedly listed by the same companies.)

Great Green Careers

Green Biz

Green Collar Vets - Environmental Jobs and Training for Transitioning Military Veterans

Green Dream Jobs

Greenjobs Network

Home Power Magazine Jobs Board

"Indeed" Jobs Board (Claim more than 1/2 million jobs.)
Jobs are not limited to renewable energy.
Enter your field and location of interest, then click the "Find Jobs" button.

LowCarbon Jobs (United Kingdom and Europe)

O*Jobs - Green Jobs by the US Department of Labor (nationwide)

Renewable Energy World Magazine Jobs Board

"Simply Hired" Jobs Board (Claim more than 8 million jobs).
Jobs are not limited to renewable energy.
Enter your field and location, then click the "Search Jobs" button.

Solar Today Magazine Job Board
Solar Today Magazine is published by the American Solar Energy Society.

Sustainable Business

Sustainable Careers (by Green Gestures)

Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association Job Board

Texas Workforce Commission Green Jobs Guidebook (comprehensive!)

Treehugger Jobs

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Financial & Tax Information

State of Texas Solar Property Tax Exemptions
If you're using solar electricity, solar hot water, or wind power, take advantage of the State of Texas property tax exemptions available for solar and wind-powered energy devices. They may decrease the amount of property tax you're paying without reducing the valuation of your property.

Texas Property Tax Code Subtitle C. Taxable Property and Exemptions Chapter 11.

Taxable Property and Exemptions Subchapter B. Exemptions Sec. 11.27.

Solar and Wind-Powered Energy Devices.

 
Download: State of Texas Form 50-123
"Property Tax Exemption Application for Solar or Wind-Powered Energy Devices."
 
Note: This document must be filed with the appraisal district in the county in which your property is located. Do not file this document with the office of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
 
Annual Application Required: You must apply for this exemption each year you claim entitlement to the exemption.
 
Application Deadline: No earlier than January 1, and no later than April 30 of the year for which you are requesting an exemption.


Increased Property Valuation Resulting from Energy Savings - Study 1 (69k PDF)
The Appraisal Journal, October 1998.

According to this study, funded in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, residential real estate markets assign to energy-efficient homes an incremental value that reflects the discounted value of annual fuel savings. The capitalization rate used by homeowners was expected to be 4%-10%, reflecting the range of after-tax mortgage interest rates during the 1990s and resulting in an incremental home value of $10 to around $25 for every $1 reduction in annual fuel bills.
 
October, 2010 Update: Because this material was becoming dated, we contacted The Appraisal Journal to check on the validity of the information. The Appraisal Journal and the article authors confirmed this information is still as applicable today as it was when the study was conducted, and even more so given the increased cost of energy since the study was published.

Electronically reprinted with permission from The Appraisal Journal (October 1998), © by the Appraisal Institute, Chicago, Illinois.


Increased Property Valuation Resulting from Energy Savings - Study 2 (66k PDF)
The Appraisal Journal, October 1999

In a follow-up to the 1998 study, funded in part by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this second report affirms that the results of these separate analyses were remarkably consistent, indicating that home value increases by about $20 for every $1 reduction in annual utility bills.
 
October, 2010 Update: Because this material was becoming dated, we contacted The Appraisal Journal to check on the validity of the information. The Appraisal Journal and the article authors confirmed this information is still as applicable today as it was when the study was conducted, and even more so given the increased cost of energy since the study was published.

Electronically reprinted with permission from The Appraisal Journal (October 1999), © by the Appraisal Institute, Chicago, Illinois


Appraisal Institute Addendum to Help Home Appraisers Give Credit for "Green" Features.
From the Appraisal Institute.

Here's some good news for homeowners who've installed energy-saving features but haven't been sure appraisers will credit them with higher valuations: Thanks to a new industry-issued appraisal addendum, the odds have improved that such upgrades get the fairer market value they're due.
 
The Appraisal Institute, the country's largest and most influential association in its field, published the long-awaited addendum late last month. It's designed to be attached to any standard appraisal report covering a property with significant green features. Owners, sellers, buyers, refinancers and realty agents don't have to wait for an appraiser to use it. They can download it at no cost and ask that it be made part of the appraisal submitted to the lender.
 
The new addendum won't guarantee you that the appraiser will raise your property value by the tens of thousands of dollars you spent on your solar panel array, high-efficiency windows or geothermal system. But it should guarantee at the minimum that he or she will take notice of the energy improvements and seek to come up with a value adjustment for your local market conditions.

Original article as it appeared in the Los Angeles Times on October 9, 2011.


Appraisal Institute Announces Support for New Solar Valuation Tool
The Appraisal Institute, the nation's largest professional association of real estate appraisers, announced its support for a new tool that will assist appraisers and others seeking to establish the value of a property's solar-powered features. The spreadsheet was developed by Solar Power Electric® and Sandia National Laboratories, and is designed for use by real estate appraisers, mortgage underwriters, credit analysts, real estate property assessors, insurance claims adjusters, photovoltaic industry sales staff and others.
 
PV Value
PV Value works within a Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet to determine the value of a PV system. This is done using an income capitalization approach whereby the energy value is calculated over the lifetime of the PV module warranty. Inputs to PV Value include the zip code of the location, local utility rate and characteristics of the PV system. An appraisal range of value estimate is returned as a function of a pre-determined risk spread. This tool can be used to value a PV system at any location in the U.S. through its interface with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's PVWatts simulator.
 
The Appraisal Institute last September introduced its Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum, a form intended to help analyze values of energy-efficient home features. It is the first of its kind intended for appraisers' use. AI's addendum was designed to produce data that can be entered into the new solar spreadsheet.
 
The Appraisal Institute issued its form as an optional addendum to Fannie Mae Form 1004, the appraisal industry's most widely used form for mortgage lending purposes. The Appraisal Institute's addendum allows appraisers to identify and describe a home's green features, from solar panels to energy-saving appliances.
 
This spreadsheet tool developed by Sandia National Laboratories and Solar Power ElectricElectric® is intended to help determine the value of a new or existing photovoltaic (PV) system installed on residential and commercial properties. It is designed to be used by real estate appraisers, mortgage underwriters, credit analysts, real property assessors, insurance claims adjusters and PV industry sales staff. For appraisers, the inputs specific to PV in the Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum can be used as inputs to PV Value.
 
Valuing a PV system is done using an income capitalization approach, which considers the present value of projected future energy production along with estimated operating and maintenance costs that are anticipated to occur during the PV module power production warranty timeframe.
 
This tool was created with Microsoft Excel® 2007, and works with both Excel® 2007 and 2010. Use of this spreadsheet requires activating macros, ActiveX controls and data connections. A detailed user manual accompanies this tool. From the Appraisal Institute.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Solar Frequently Asked Questions (US Department of Energy)
A database of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the four solar technologies: Concentrating Solar Power; Photovoltaics; Solar Heating; and Solar Lighting. Each technology is broken down into different categories to make it easy to search.

Solar Frequently Asked Questions (PDF download, 30k)
A two-page list of questions commonly asked by attendees at various local events such as EarthDay, Live Green in Plano, Prairie Fest, Mayfest, and others.

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Legislation - Federal & State

State of Texas Legislation for Year 2009
A summary by the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association of the 2009 Texas Legislative Session.

State of Texas Legislation for Year 2011
A summary by the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association of the 2011 Texas Legislative Session.
 
Note: In the 2011 legislative session, texas lawmakers passed House Bill 362, a law that disallows Home-Owner's Associations ("HOA") from including or enforcing a provision in its dedicatory instruments that prohibits or restricts a homeowner from installing solar energy equipment on their homes.

2011 Legislature Addresses Home Owner Association ("HOA") Restrictions on Solar Panels
In 2011, the 82nd Texas Legislature passed, and Governor Perry signed into law, House Bill 362. This legislation deals with Home Owner's Associations (HOAs) restrictions on solar equipment. HB362 modified the Texas Property Code to prohibit HOAs from restricting solar devices. While this alleviated many of the "solar" issues within an HOA, whereby they may have previously prevented the installation of solar energy equipment, the law does not remove all restrictions.
 
There are still exceptions that allow HOAs the right to prohibit solar equipment located in areas other than on rooftops or in a fenced yard or patio. HOAs may still regulate equipment that does not conform to the slope of the roof, or is not parallel to the roofline. There are also specific requirements for mounting brackets, conduit, wiring, and frame coloration. Finally, even if a homeowner avoids the exceptions of HB362, an HOA may still attempt to regulate solar energy devices if placement of those devices causes "unreasonable discomfort or annoyance to persons of ordinary sensibilities". Although vague in definition, HOAs may attempt to exercise the provisions therein. At a minimum, this may make it difficult for a home owner to install solar energy equipment. At worst .. it will still prevent the installation of a system.
 
PDFPDF copy of House Bill 362 from the NTREG Server.
 
PDFPDF copy of House Bill 362 from the State of Texas Legislature Server.

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Legislation - Planning & Zoning and Ordinances

PDFAmerican Planning Association Briefing Paper - Local Development Regulations.
"Integrating Solar Energy into Local Development Regulations".
This briefing paper by the American Planning Association provides planners, public officials, and engaged citizens with an overview of three aspects of integrating solar energy into local development regulations - removing barriers, creating incentives, and enacting standards - and offers examples from communities across the country that are taking steps to support local solar market growth.

PDFAmerican Planning Association: Briefing paper - Local Plans.
The purpose of this paper by the American Planning Association is to provide planners, public officials, and engaged citizens with an overview of established and emerging approaches to integrating references to solar energy into local plans. The initial sections focus on addressing solar energy use in features common to many types of plans, and the paper concludes with issues specific to comprehensive, subarea, and functional plans.

PDFUS Department of Energy SunShot Program Solar Powering Your Community Guidebook.
"Solar Powering Your Community. A Guide for Local Governments."
The United States Department of Energy designed this guide - "Solar Powering Your Community: A Guide for Local Governments" - to assist local government officials and stakeholders in designing and implementing strategic local solar plans. This second edition contains the most recent lessons and successes from the 25 Solar America Cities and other communities promoting solar energy.

PDFAmerican Planning Association Model language.
Model Solar Ordinances and Commentary: "A MUNICIPAL GUIDE TO PLANNING FOR AND REGULATING ALTERATIVE ENERGY SYSTEMS." Published by the Lancaster County Planning Commission, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

PDFPromoting Sustainable Development in Kansas City.
Recommended Zoning & Development Code Amendments.
One example of Kansas City's ongoing commitment to promoting sustainable practices was the recent adoption of a new zoning and development code. The new code - the first comprehensive revision of zoning and land development regulations in over 50 years - includes several sustainability-related enhancements. This report is a continuation of that effort and provides further evidence of Kansas City's "green" commitment. Guided by a citizen advisory committee, the report focuses on ensuring that the zoning and development code does even more to promote sustainable development practices.

Another Solar Ready II region, The Delaware Valley RPC, also has model ordinances and commentary that have been highly praised by the Solar Ready II team. The documents offer a variety of language to choose from with commentary on why such language may be desireable/undesireable. Click on "Download Solar REOF as a MS Word document or PDF" at the top of the page.

Additional Material:
The City of Lowell, Massachusetts installed their own solar equipment beginning in 2010. Per a CBS television affiliate news story, Lowell making money with it.
 
MP4 CBS Television News Story (22.7 MB MP4)
 
FLV City of Lowell Solar Farm Announcement (low-resolution, 5 MB FLV)


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Energy Efficient Mortgage & Loan Information from the FHA, VA, HUD

The Energy Efficient Mortgage program ("EEM")
An "Energy Efficient Mortgage" ("EEM") helps homebuyers or homeowners save money on utility bills by enabling them to finance the cost of adding energy efficiency features to new or existing housing as part of their FHA, VA, or conventional insured home purchase or refinancing mortgage. EEMs recognize that reduced utility expenses can permit a homeowner to pay a higher mortgage to cover the cost of the energy improvements on top of the approved mortgage. FHA EEMs provide mortgage insurance for a person to purchase or refinance a principal residence and incorporate the cost of energy efficient improvements into the mortgage. The borrower does not have to qualify for the additional money and does not make a downpayment on it. The mortgage loan is funded by a lending institution, such as a mortgage company, bank, or savings and loan association, and the mortgage is insured by HUD. EEMs give borrowers the opportunity to finance cost-effective, energy-saving measures as part of a single mortgage and stretch debt-to-income qualifying ratios on loans thereby allowing borrowers to qualify for a larger loan amount and a better, more energy-efficient home.

Additional Information from:
Energy Star - Information on Conventional, FHA, VA Energy Efficient Mortgage Loans
 
FHA's Home Page for FHA-insured Energy Efficient Mortgages
EEM Mortgages Description, EEM Worksheet, EEM Homeowner Guide, EEM Mortgagee Letters, and more.
 
Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency - Energy Efficient Mortgages
 
US Housing and Urban Development - Energy Efficient Mortgage Home Owner Guide
 
FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage Fact Sheet (68k)
 
Veterans Administration EEM Pamphlet 26-7 (1.4 MB)

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Publications

Home Power Magazine
For beginners to experts. Comprehensive technical coverage of solar, wind, and microhydro electricity, energy efficiency, solar hot water systems, space heating and cooling, energy-efficient building materials and home design, and clean transportation options. Most articles are written by the readers themselves.

Solar Professional Magazine
A technical trade publication distributed to more than 20,000 professionals working in the North American solar market.

Solar Today Magazine
Published by the American Solar Energy Society. In each issue you'll find: Case histories; "How-to" articles and tips offering advice on making sustainable energy and product choices; Coverage of new products and services; Energy-efficiency Q&A .. and much more.

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Purchase Incentives, Rebates & Tax Credits for Renewables and Efficiency Steps

City of Plano, Texas Smart Energy Loan Program
The City of Plano established this loan program through the Department of Energy, in conjunction with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This fund supports affordable energy efficiency loans to Plano homeowners. In partnership with Credit Union of Texas, the City provides homeowners with a variety of financing options for energy efficency upgrades. In addition, this loan program will continue to offer future loans as existing loans are paid off, which will benefit up to 1,356 residential projects estimated at $7 million in value over the next ten years.

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency ("DSIRE")
A comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

DSIRE for Texas
Comprehensive and very extensive list of Texas incentives for renewables and efficiency.

Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency (General Information)
Windows & doors, roofing, insulation, HVAC, water heaters, biomass stoves, geo-thermal heat pumps, solar energy systems (electric AND hot water), small wind energy systems, fuel cells, and cars. Much additional information is available here including: "How do I apply for my Federal Tax Credit?"

Federal Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency - Business & Corporate Tax Credits
Eligible Renewable / Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Thermal Process Heat, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Fuel Cells, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Municipal Solid Waste, CHP/Cogeneration, Solar Hybrid Lighting, Hydrokinetic Power (i.e., Flowing Water), Anaerobic Digestion, Small Hydroelectric, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Ocean Thermal, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels, Microturbines, Geothermal Direct-Use. Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Utility, Agricultural.

Federal Incentives / Policies for Renewables & Efficiency - Personal Tax Credit
Eligible Renewable / Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Fuel Cells, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Other Solar-Electric Technologies, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels. Applicable Sectors: Residential. Expiration Date: 12/31/2016.

Oncor Energy Efficiency Incentives
Incentive programs intended to stimulate investment in efficient technologies and make energy efficiency incentives available to all consumer classes in Oncor's service areas.

Oncor Solar PhotoVoltaic (PV) and Solar Water Heating Program
Oncor's Programs are designed to help Oncor customers meet a portion of their electric energy needs with solar photovoltaic ("PV") and solar hot water systems for qualifying homes.

Property Assessed Clean Energy Program ("PACE")
Keeping PACE in Texas ("KPT") is a non-profit business association organized for the purpose of promoting Property Assessed Clean Energy ("PACE") financing programs throughout the state of Texas. KPT's first goal - the enactment of PACE-enabling legislation - was accomplished on June 14, 2013, with the passage of the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act.
 
What is PACE?
 
PACE is an innovative financing program that enables owners of commercial and industrial properties to obtain low-cost, long-term loans for water conservation, energy-efficiency improvements, and renewable retrofits. The PACE statute, SB 385, authorizes municipalities and counties in Texas to work with private sector lenders and property owners to finance qualified improvements using contractual assessments voluntarily imposed on the property by the owner.
 
The term of a PACE loan may extend up to 20 years, resulting in utility cost savings that exceed the amount of the assessment payment. As a result, improvements financed through PACE generate positive cash flow upon completion with no up-front, out-of-pocket cost to the property owner. If the property is sold before the full amount of the PACE loan is repaid, the repayment obligation automatically transfers to the next owner because the lien securing the PACE assessment follows title to the property.
 

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Reference Sites

Florida Solar Energy Center
THE definitive resource site for solar energy research and information. Too many topics available to list here!

Infinite Power of Texas
The Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) created the Infinite Power of Texas Renewable Energy Educational Campaign to accelerate the acceptance of renewable energy resources in Texas. SECO's Innovative Energy Demonstration Program promotes the use of renewable energy and sustainable building practices through technology demonstration, hands-on instruction and renewable energy education. Renewable Energy Fact Sheets (free!), lesson plans for teachers, renewable energy events, renewable energy news, comprehensive lists of renewable energy links, energy efficiency .. and more!

Solar Cookers International (formerly "Solar Box Cookers International")
Solar cookers are an ideal addition to any kitchen wherever the sun shines many days of the year. Solar cooking and baking are easy. Solar cookers are safe around children and provide a great way to learn about and use solar energy. Solar cookers are clean, convenient, non-polluting and easy on the environment. Solar box cookers can be made from common household materials for as little as $5.00. Several different downloadable plans are provided for building your own solar cooker. Though generally not as efficient as commercial solar ovens (meaning it takes longer to cook food), home-built units are an excellent and inexpensive way to learn about solar cooking.

Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO)
The Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) has tips and tools for residential energy consumers, state and local government, business and industry, as well as resources for schools and teachers. The website has its own search engine and a new subscription service that allows anyone to sign up for news and updates.

US Department of Energy
From energy conservation to energy generation. This site by the US Department of Energy has information and links for: Saving Electricity; steps toward making your home more energy efficient; home energy audits; air conditioning and heating; home weatherization; landsacping; energy-efficient windows; skylights; solar and wind energy, calculators to help estimate your energy savings, and much more!

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Solar Cooking

The Art of Solar Cooking
The art of cooking everyday food with the power of the sun.

Build a Solar Cooker
Plans for building a solar oven.

Cooking with the Sun
Solar cooking basics. Solar cooker construction ideas and plans.

Solar Cooking International (formerly "Solar Box Cookers International")
Solar cookers are an ideal addition to any kitchen wherever the sun shines many days of the year. Solar cooking and baking are easy. Solar cookers are safe around children and provide a great way to learn about and use solar energy. Solar cookers are clean, convenient, non-polluting and easy on the environment. Solar box cookers can be made from common household materials for as little as $5.00. Several different downloadable plans are provided for building your own solar cooker. Though generally not as efficient as commercial solar ovens (meaning it takes longer to cook food), home-built units are an excellent and inexpensive way to learn about solar cooking.

Solar Cooking Recipes
Recipes by others who want to share the good things they've discovered when solar cooking.

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Teacher Resources
Information and Lesson Plans for K-12 and College Instructors.

Green Kids USA
An excellent site for teachers, parents, and kids of all ages. Content includes videos, worksheets, lesson plans, resources, links, and more.

Lesson Plans for Teachers K-12 and Beyond
Lesson Plans for Teachers organized for Grades K-3, 4-5, Middle-School (6, 7, 8), and High School and College-level. Developed by a team of professional educators and renewable energy experts, these materials include teacher resource guides, reading passages for students, and student worksheetss in an easy-to-download format. Provided to educators free of charge by Texas State Energy Conservation Office ("SECO").

Renewable Energy Activities for Students
For students grades 6-8. The National Renerable Energy Laboratory believes renewable energy and energy efficiency Research & Development is only part of the new energy future equation. Educating students, teachers, and consumers is the other key to finding new renewable ways to power our homes, businesses, and cars. Part of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Education Programs. Because links of this type often change, we have archived this information on our website. Please note - it's a large file (3.8 MB). Download here: "Renewable Energy Activities - Choices for Tomorrow." Teacher's Activity Guide for Middle Level Grades 6-8.

Resources for Educators
Renewable Energy Education Curriculum materials from Solar Energy International covering climate change, energy conservation, solar and wind kits and products, solar cooking, teacher grant opportunities, schools going green, and international action on climate change and renewable energy.

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Water Conservation & Rainwater Collection

Texas Rainwater Catchment Association ("TRCA")
Texas Rainwater Catchment Association (TRCA) was created to provide the citizens of Texas with credible information and resources on rainwater collection, to promote the advancement of rainwater conservation and to work with state, county and other local governmental units in promoting rainwater catchment.

Texas Water Development Board ("TWDB")
The Texas Water Development Board's mission is to provide leadership, planning, financial assistance, information, and education for the conservation and responsible development of water for Texas.

Texas Rainwater Resources Education - Texas A&M
Efficient water use is increasingly important to Texas. With the state's growing population and limited supply of both groundwater and surface water, Texans must use water wisely. Rainwater harvesting is an innovative approach anyone can use.

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