The Solar Cat was conceived in the early 1970s by professional engineer Jim Augustyn who often admired his sweet cat Parsley on a sunny windowsill. One day he realized exactly what his clever kitty was doing—and had been doing for years. Parsley was using solar energy! Jim's cats Mouse and Parsley continued to impress him with their absolute mastery of all aspects of use and application of solar energy.
Jim scientifically recorded his observations of cats using solar energy along with his delightfully funny comments. The first Solar Cat Book was published in 1979 by the Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, California. The Solar Cat Book 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 published The Return of the Solar Cat Book, a revised edition of the original book.
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 three cats.
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.