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Solar energy tour designed to shed light on green power systems

Solar energy tour designed to shed light on green power systems

2018 Green Energy Ohio Tour

1. The Green Energy Ohio Tour

Now in its 16th year, the Green Energy Ohio (GEO) will take place the weekend of September 28-30. Last year’s Tour featured 71 open houses and 6 guided tours, showcasing 10 different green energy technologies. Over 300 participants took advantage of the opportunity to see firsthand the progress that is being made in Ohio. We are looking forward to another great Tour – with some added activities, featured locations, and a greater variety of sites. The Green Energy Ohio Tour is a free, educational event open to the public. You don’t need to have any expertise, just an interest in clean energy and a desire to learn more about it!

2. Dates and Times of the Tour

Once again, we will have a combination of bus (guided) tours and self-guided tours. The Tour will run from
9:00AM – 5:00PM on
Friday, September 28; Saturday, September 29; Sunday, September 30.
Site owners will be able to select when they want to host visitors, and that information will be posted on the Tour guide along with other information about the location. Be sure to check the host site information before you attend, since most locations will not be available every day, or for the whole day.
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The newspaper article:
Homes focus of solar energy tour
For Aurora’s Brian Gravenhorst, this Saturday’s Illinois Solar Tour — in which his home is among those featured — is a way to teach people about the benefits of solar power.

In fact, he said a solar tour inspired him to go with solar power at his home at 3167 Savannah Drive.

He and his wife “went to see houses on the solar tour about five years ago as part of our research into solar power” and that one of the biggest problems was convincing her “it wouldn’t ugly up the house.”

“I’ve always been a techno guy or a geek or a nerd for a long time and have been into science things,” Gravenhorst said. “I had to do a lot of research and figure out a budget. We put our system in during September of 2015 with a roof installation on a home that faces east and west. We had been considering this for a long time.”

Gravenhorst said he made a $54,000 investment in his system “that is aesthetically pleasing and looks like a big glass skylight.”

“This is the largest system you can put on a rooftop, but I also added a whole house generator because if there is a power failure during the day and the utilities go away, the solar shuts down as well,” he said.

He said that solar power has plenty of benefits, including to the environment.

“I want to be green, and my system the past three years has reduced my carbon footprint by 47,000 pounds of (carbon dioxide),” he said.

Gravenhorst said he has noticed considerable energy cost savings this year, including no electric bill the first four months, a bill of $2.97 in May, and about $45 a month “during the air conditioning months of June and July.”

“I had about the same savings a year ago,” he said.

Gravenhorst said the solar tour is a great way to look at the latest in solar power technology.

“People should look at these homes because solar isn’t like it was 20 years ago and also because not everyone has to get a system like mine,” he said. “There are plenty of smaller systems that cost less and people can save energy costs and get a tax break on them.”

The Illinois Solar Tour begins at 10 a.m. Saturday and will feature more than 140 homes across the state. Visitors can take a self-guided tour to locations throughout their area. A list of sites is available at www.illinoissolartour.org. The tour ends at 3 p.m.

Program associate for the Illinois Solar Energy Association Nicola Brown said the tour has been held for over a decade and that participation has continued to grow each year.

“This year, we have 142 homes as more and more people are turning to solar power and our aim is to find people actually living in solar homes to give visitors a better experience,” Brown said. “We want people to learn how these systems work, and let owners tell their story.”

Brown said contact with real owners is the best way to promote the technology.

“Every installation is unique and we want people to tell their personal story,” she said. “We contact people that have these systems and they also reach out to us. It’s a cool opportunity to be on a tour and see what’s been done.”

David Sharos is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.

 

Source: The Beacon-News

BY:  David Sharos
The Beacon-News

LINK:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-aurora-solar-energy-st-0921-story.h

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