Social Program


Hi, my name is Ann Schneider and I am the Social Program Chair for the 38th Photovoltaic Specialists Conference. I’m pleased to invite you to join the fun and festivities planned for this year’s conference!

Throughout the week we’ll be offering a variety of organized and self-directed tours and social events, for which we have negotiated the best rates possible. Most of the tours, events and receptions are family friendly and you are welcome to join in all or as many as you wish. We know that we will create great memories among our community of Photovoltaic Specialists, families, and friends.

I look forward to meeting you in Austin and having a wonderful time together in this beautiful and unique city. Welcome to the Heart of Texas!

Warm regards,
Ann Schneider


All companions are required to register ($20.00 per person, ages 5 and over). Registered companions will be issued a conference badge, which will be their ticket to access the Companions Room - located in Meeting Room 400 at the Hilton -- where a continental breakfast will be served Monday through Thursday. This badge will also provide access to the Exhibitor and Cherry Award receptions. Companion registration is not required if you ONLY attend the banquet.

Companions Room
Monday - Thursday 7:30 am - 9:00 am
Hilton Hotel, Meeting Room 400

Austin: By Land and By Sea
Monday, June 4, 2012 10:00 am - 12:30 pm

We invite you to take an amphibious tour of Austin’s surf and turf in an unsinkable, U.S. Coast Guard-inspected, Hydra Terra vehicle. The Duck Tour is a 75-minute sightseeing adventure that cruises past Historic Sixth Street, the State Capitol Building, Bob Bullock State History Museum, the Governor’s Mansion and Lake Austin. The tour departs directly from the Hilton Austin. Bottled water will be provided.

Early Registration until May 1:

$42.00 per adult (minimum of 30 adult guests, maximum 129 total guests)
$20.00 per child (age 4-12 years old, 3 and under free)

After May 2:

$52.00 per adult (minimum of 30 adult guests, maximum 129 total guests)
$30.00 per child (age 4-12 years old, 3 and under free)

Texas Hill Country!
Tuesday, June 5, 2012 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Board your comfortable coach today from the Hilton Austin for a pleasant drive into the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Your journey begins in the town of Fredericksburg, named in 1846 after Prince Frederick of Prussia. Nestled in the Perdenales Valley, “fritz town," as it is affectionately called, offers a glimpse into the German Chapter of Texas history, not to mention a variety of culinary delights and shopping that threatens credit card meltdown. Fredericksburg is also the home of the Admiral Nimitz State Historical Park, featuring the Pacific War Museum. From hand-made jewelry, preserves, home-made salsa, clothing, Texas-themed items and hand crafted dulcimers, there is something for everyone in Old Fritztown.

After exploring and shopping, we’ll head to Stonewall, TX -- the home of Becker Vineyards and Lavender Fields, for a private lunch, tour and wine tasting. Established in 1992, the vineyard was planted on a site of native Mustang grapes prized for winemaking by their German neighbors and ancestors. Also on the site is a three acre lavender field reminiscent of the wine country of Provence, France. We’re in luck, as lavender blooming season is typically in May and June. Several different lavender varietals bloom alongside the vineyard’s 46 acres of French Vinifera vines, generating eight different grape varietals.
Must be 21 years of age or older to participate in this tour

Early Registration until May 1:
$116.00 (minimum of 30 guests, maximum of 90 guests)

After May 1:
$126.00 (minimum of 30 guests, maximum of 90 guests)

Lone Star Riverboat Bat Cruise
Wednesday, June 6, 2012 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

In a two-hour sunset excursion on a Lone Star Riverboat, experience the exhilaration of the outdoors, the abundant wildlife, the ever-changing city skyline and the natural beauty that is Austin. Cruise under city bridges, around the mouth of Barton Creek and Zilker Park, past limestone cliffs, huge bald cypress and native pecan trees, waterfowl and great blue herons -- all in the heart of town. The pinnacle of the evening will be observing the world famous Mexican free tail bats as these nocturnal creatures emerge from the Congress Avenue Bridge they call home. The largest urban bat colony in North America, nearly 1.5 million bats reside in vertical crevices beneath the bridge roadway from mid-March to early November. There is no better seat in town from which to watch their evening antics than aboard the all-electric Lone Star Riverboat.


An appetizer and dessert buffet along with unlimited non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. Wines from the Texas-based Becker Vineyards and Shiner Bock Beer will also accompany this picturesque tour.

Round trip transportation via coach from the Hilton Austin is included.

Early Registration until May 1:
$111.00 per adult (minimum of 50 adult guests, maximum 147 guests)
$50.00 per child (aged 3-11)

After May 2:
$121.00 per adult (minimum of 50 adult guests, maximum 147 guests)
$55.00 per child (aged 3-11)

San Marcos Premium Outlets
Thursday, June 7, 2012 9:30 am - 3:00 pm

Bargain hunters can save a fortune scouring the myriad of manufacturer and designer shops spread throughout the San Marcos Premium Outlets. From Coach, J. Crew and Pottery Barn Furniture to Bose, Brooks Brothers and Crate & Barrel, there are more shops than most can manage in a day (140!) so it's smart to plan ahead before hitting the pavement. Let the VIP Coupon Book (provided upon your arrival) be your guide to those in-the-moment special deals. Round trip transportation via coach from the Hilton Austin and bottled water will be provided. Enjoy lunch on your own at one of the many choices at the mall.

Early Registration until May 1:
$29.00 per adult (minimum of 40 adult guests)
$12.00 per child/youth (age 9-18 years old)

After May 2:
$39.00 per adult (minimum of 40 adult guests)
$17.00 per child/youth (age 9-18 years old)

PVSC Banquet - Austin City Limits at Moody Theater
Thursday, June 7, 2012 6:30 pm - 10:00 pm

Become immersed in the history of the longest running music television series, Austin City Limits, from the moment you walk down the red carpet and step inside ACL Live at the Moody Theater. The theater is the premier destination in Austin for live performance and private events. Green screen photography and corn hole toss will provide entertainment on the Music Porch. Tour the 3rd floor Gallery featuring the iconic ACL photographs of past legendary performers.

Savor the delicious Salt Lick BBQ - brisket, pork ribs, sausage, chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, beans, Vegetarian Creole with baked rice. Finish your meal with another Austin original, Amy’s Ice Cream.

Then sit back and enjoy a live music performance by Austin native and internationally renowned guitarist Eric Johnson. Though he is best known for his success in the instrumental rock format, Johnson regularly incorporates jazz, fusion, gospel and country and western music into his recordings. Johnson also composes and plays vocal pieces, and is an accomplished pianist.

Guitar Player magazine has called Johnson "one of the most respected guitarists on the planet." Johnson's stylistic diversity and technical proficiency with the guitar have been praised by Bill Hicks. His critically acclaimed, platinum-selling 1990 recording Ah Via Musicom produced the single "Cliffs of Dover", for which Johnson won the 1991 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.


$80.00 per adult (maximum 900 guests)
$40.00 per child (aged 5-15)

No charge for children under 4 years

Cancellation Policy

We will refund all activity fees for conference attendees and/or their companions who for any reason are unable to attend the conference. To request a refund, please notify us by email at [email protected] no later than June 3, 2012. Refunds will be made after the conference.

Refunds will not be made for on-site registration.

Self-Directed Tour Opportunities

In addition to the companion events, Austin offers many other sights to explore on your own.

Things to Do in Austin

Texas State Capital

South Congress Avenue (SoCo)

Segway Tours

Whole Foods Cooking Classes

6th Street

Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum

Austin Museum of Art

Austin Bike Tours and Rentals

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum

Austin Children’s Museum

Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary

Austin Nature and Science Center

Lake Travis

Texas Hill Country Wineries

University of Texas at Austin