The Origin Story
In the beginning . . . The Solar Cat was conceived in the early 1970s by Jim Augustyn, a young, yet mechanical engineer who often admired his sweet cat Parsley perched on a sunny windowsill. One day it suddenly dawned on him exactly what Parsley was doing—and had been doing for years. Parsley was using solar energy! Jim's cats Parsley and Mouse (the elder) continued to impress him with their absolute mastery of all aspects of use and application of solar energy.
Jim studiously recorded his observations of cats using solar energy for several years before attempting to coherently assembling them in what to him at least was a logical fashion. The first Solar Cat Book was published in 1979 by the Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, California. It was a huge hit with the fledgling solar community selling more than 10,000 copies in advance of publication. Nearly 25 years later, when human interest in solar energy was again on the rise, Jim fixed it up a bit and published The Return of the Solar Cat Book, a revised edition - this time in color!
Jim Augustyn first learned about solar energy as a boy working on his suntan in the hot summer sun on the shores of Lake Michigan in the Indiana Sand Dunes. The boy grew up and received a B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He now lives in Berkeley California with his wife, Elizabeth, and a continuing series of Parsley-replacements.
Jim is a consultant and researcher in the solar field. The focus of his work is solar radiation measurement, but he has also designed and built solar thermal and electric systems, assisted in the energy design of buildings, and development of large scale solar power installations over a career stretching back to the days of the first U.S. energy crisis. Augustyn & Company's clients include national laboratories, foreign governments, utilities, research laboratories, domestic electric utilities, solar power plant developers, state and municipal governments, as well as the occasional regular person. Of course his most prestigious work is as Humanity's Primary Emmisary to the International Solar Cat Society.