National solar tour looks at successful systems in buildings

Jennifer Barker

JOHN DAY - EORenew will participate in the Oregon Tour of Solar Homes, part of the American Solar Energy Society's eighth annual National Solar Tour on Saturday, Oct. 4.

John Day's Solar Home Tour will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4, with an introductory workshop at Keerins Hall at Grant County Fairgrounds. The workshop will be followed by a tour of a grid-intertied solar electric system on the fairgrounds, EORenew's independent solar electric office, and three homes in the John Day/Canyon City area which make use of solar and other renewable resources. Participants should bring a lunch and dress for the weather.

More than 1,200 homes, businesses and public buildings in hundreds of communities across the U.S. are expected to be open to as many as 30,000 visitors. Participants will have the opportunity to see first-hand the successful use of many forms of renewable energy including passive solar designs and solar-electric generating systems in a variety of buildings.

Strategies for integrating solar into buildings and the benefits - such as lowering electric utility costs by as much as 60 percent and increasing comfort for building residents - will be discussed in detail. Tour attendees will have the opportunity to enter to win a free 2 kW solar electric system with inverter and battery backup worth over $11,000.

"The National Solar Tour gives people the chance to meet directly with others who have incorporated solar design features in their buildings and use photovoltaic energy in their daily lives," says Brad Collins, ASES executive director. "Visitors can experience the comfort of increased daylight in buildings, learn about the benefits of solar and other forms of renewable energy, watch electric meters run backwards, and see the actual savings on utility bills in buildings in their community."

In addition to receiving tour maps and background materials on solar energy, tour participants can talk with home and business owners about why and how they integrated solar designs. Like many of the first-time attendees on the National Solar Tour, a number of the people showing their homes or businesses knew little or nothing about solar design and solar electric generation before deciding to integrate it into their buildings. They report satisfaction concerning buildings and energy costs, and the fact that they are producing energy that does not add to pollution.

Free solar tour magazines for the local tour may be picked up at the EORenew office, 150 E. Main St., John Day. For more information, contact Jennifer Barker (541) 575-3633 or e-mail to info@solwest.org.

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