Austin Energy Community Solar

Austin Energy
Community Solar

I had the pleasure of designing the outreach materials for a
pivotal Austin Energy solar energy processing and distribution project.

La Loma Community Solar Farm in East Austin is the largest community solar farm in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and is also the first
in Texas to offer low-income customers a discounted rate to participate in a Community Solar program.

At the beginning of our Community Solar campaign, the Project Lead and the Solar Team gathered information about our target markets. One method used was a focus group. It was very insightful. It was also a challenge not to fall into easily cliched "Austincentric" visuals.

Our initial drafts reflected the information we had gathered, and ultimately we developed a campaign that evolved into a bright, cheery "story book" look. I developed some visual main characters, as the Project Lead and Solar Team were working on the text information and headlines.
The La Loma postcard was one of the first outreach pieces I designed. This postcard was delivered to residents in the Springdale neighborhood adjacent to the community solar farm to inform them of the upcoming solar panel installation.

The area residents were invited to be the first to sign up to receive electric power through La Loma Community Solar.
The program allows multiple customers to share the output of a central facility rather than installing solar on their own roofs. Customers include renters, people with shaded roofs, and residents who can’t afford the upfront costs of rooftop solar.
I designed print advertisements for community newspapers and select publications to introduce awareness of the construction of the La Loma solar farm. I designed web banner ads which appeared on social media sites, such as Facebook, Pandora and Twitter, to inform customers
of their cleaner and greener alternative to petroleum-generated power.

I created portable event signage for the Solar Team to use when
they hold outreach events to inform Austin citizens about their
solar clean energy alternatives.

Community Solar allows multiple customers to share the output of a central facility rather than installing solar on their own roofs. Customers include renters, people with shaded roofs, and residents who can’t afford the upfront costs of rooftop solar. Built with 9,054 solar panels, La Loma Solar Farm can provide 2.6 megawatts, enough to power 400 homes.
I created print handouts which explained the basics of how a Community Solar program works, billing information and eligibility.

 For informational outreach items such as these, we
used both Spanish and English language formats.
The most creative and challenging part of the Community Solar campaign was designing the vehicle wrap for the Solar Car. My base vehicle
was a 2007 Ford Escape. I was pleased with the results, and the
Solar Team at Austin Energy was very happy as well.


The "Solar" car is bright and very noticeable when it is being
driven around downtown Austin.
Working with a two dimensional template to create a three dimensional vehicle wrap was an interesting process that required much planning. Some pieces of the wrap were overlaid by hand, such as the phrase
"Running on Sunshine" that curves over the rear wheels.
I designed a Community Solar-themed Austin B Cycle. B Cycle is a
 non-profit, electric bike-sharing program in Austin and other cities.

I enjoyed the whole process of designing the graphic pieces.
I also was pleased to see the finished B cycles in the B cycle station
  near Austin Energy's downtown office.

I created several versions of the Austin Energy and Community Solar icon logo lockup. I made comps that show one color and full color variations.
The main fonts we used in this campaign are Archer and Gotham. Archer, with its pronounced serifs, not only contrasts well with the simplicity of Gotham, it adds a "storybook" look and feel that the Solar Team liked.
I created a palette consisting of clear, cheery colors in keeping with the friendly "schoolbook" look that we were developing. I like the interplay of the oranges and the blues that tend towards aqua. The Solar Team agreed
that it was the color scheme they wanted.

I designed a round refrigerator magnet which plays with the old joke about calling someone and asking if their refrigerator is running (punchline: when someone answers "yes, it's running", the caller tells them that they had better go catch it). The refrigerator magnets are popular items that remind people every day of their energy choices.
The La Loma Community Solar program is ever-evolving and very inclusive. Following Austin City Council approval, Austin Energy dedicated half of La Loma’s capacity to low-income customers in the City of Austin Utilities’ Customer Assistance Program at a discounted rate.
Austin Energy Community Solar
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Austin Energy Community Solar

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