Welcome to Constable Precinct 5. Today is

HOME CONTACT INFO OUR SERVICES FEES ABOUT US POLICIES CONSTABLE HISTORY FORMS CONNECTIONS DEPUTY CENTRAL
EXPERTS IN CIVIL PROCESS CLASS C WARRANTS DISABLED PARKING VOLUNTEER PROGRAM CONSTABLE'S NOTEBOOK PHOTO GALLERY CN5 IN THE NEWS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES
Constable Carlos Lopez and his deputies assist the citizens and courts of Travis County

Carlos B. Lopez, Constable

Travis County Courthouse Complex


24/7 Civil Process Service Check

Enter to Search by Cause No. or Name

Cause:

Name: 

Helpful tips for finding the correct listing
Bruce Elfant

Bruce Elfant

Notebook Archives



Constable's Notebook - April 2008

As spring approaches our thoughts turn to gardening, baseball season, summer vacations - and for more and more Austinites, additional daylight hours for solar power systems to generate electricity for our homes. According to officials at Austin Energy, the number of Austin homes powered at least partly by solar power has increased dramatically over the past several years. The increased demand for solar power systems is fueled by the fact that coal-fired power plants contribute to health problems, the (up to 75%) rebates offered by Austin Energy, and the promise of significantly lower energy bills. The City of Austin, hoping to reduce the need to invest in expensive and polluting power plants, has set a goal to generate 100 MW of solar energy by 2020. My wife and I, motivated by the appeal of reducing our electric bills and generating and consuming clean energy, installed a 3 KW solar system last year that should lower our electric bills by up to 65%.

Solar power is not for everyone. Even with rebates, solar systems will still cost homeowners upwards of several thousand dollars and the return on ones investment will take several years. Austin Energy requires that in order for solar systems to be most efficient (and be eligible for rebates) solar panels must be installed where there is 100% sunlight from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM during all times of the year. Many homes shaded by trees or other structures would not be good candidates for solar systems.

A word about trees. According to Austin Energy, “installing 1-kilowatt of solar power is the equivalent of planting 50 trees, which help keep the air clean.” Our home was partially shaded by two aging and unhealthy pecan trees that had been unprofessionally pruned away from power lines by Austin Energy. In order to assess which was more environmentally valuable, the trees or the solar panels, we consulted a private arborist about the health of our trees. He told us they were in poor condition and recommended we cut them down. However the City Arborist initially refused to grant us a permit to cut them down. We had to hire our own arborist (at a cost of several hundred dollars), who wrote a detailed report demonstrating that the trees were diseased and hazardous. We provided a copy of this report to the City Arborist and subsequently received the permit. City officials need to establish a clear policy that balances the value of mature trees with the benefits of solar systems.

Ten companies have been approved by Austin Energy (www.austinenergy.com) to install solar systems. Consumers should get several bids, ask a lot of questions, contact company references and check the Better Business Bureau website (www.centraltx.bbb.org) in order to select the company most likely to deliver the best services. Because of demand for these systems, it will likely take a month or two for the company selected to obtain the materials and another month or so for installation.

Austin Energy also offers rebates for home energy audits and conservation upgrades and encourages the use of energy efficient appliances and fluorescent light bulbs. Was the solar installation worth the expense and time spent? Our solar system and energy efficiency measures have resulted in less demand on fossil fuels for energy, a little less pollution, and last month’s electric bill was about $20. We believe it was.

Video Icon

Watch a video How Travis County Constables help in our communities

Video Icon

Watch a video Constable 5 Wins Award for Domestic Violence Initiative

Learn more Stop teen dating violence