Boulder, CO – Online registration has begun for solar-savvy installers and grassroots organizations interested in showcasing their communities’ solar-powered homes, businesses and public agencies during the non-profit American Solar Energy Society’s (ASES’) 15th Annual National Solar Tour, the world’s largest grassroots solar event. Last year, 150,000 people in 49 states and Puerto Rico participated.
The event features open house tours of thousands of solar-powered homes, businesses and public agencies across America to introduce the solar technologies citizens are using to 1) slash monthly energy bills, 2) reduce harmful carbon emissions, 3) assert their energy independence and 4) enjoy rich tax credits and cash incentives as they improve their property values. The bulk of the tours take place on or about October 2, 2010, depending on weather. Some are scheduled earlier to avoid conflicts with perennial local events.
“In the wake of the largest man-made environmental disaster in U.S. history, learning about clean, job-creating energy options that provide tax breaks, lower energy bills and create cleaner communities for all of us is something everyone can do to begin to address America’s addiction to fossil fuels,” said National Solar Tour Manager Richard Burns. “The ASES National Solar Tour brings families and businesses real-life examples of how their neighbors are harnessing free energy from the sun to generate electricity to warm and cool their homes and heat their water – without polluting our environment,” he said.
The self-guided and bus-hosted tours, organized by grassroots organizations and solar installers throughout the country, afford participants the direct perspectives of businesses, home owners and installers about the costs, processes and benefits of going solar. The tours also give Americans a glimpse at the latest technologies — and how a variety of solar systems look in and around structures with different architectural styles. Featured are solar-powered homes, farms, public agencies, condo complexes and solar-powered businesses that run the gamut from donut shops to ceramic shops and funeral homes.
“With enticing federal tax credits, billions of dollars in grants and loans, state-funded cash rebates and a groundswell of consumer support for sustainable solutions that promote energy independence, the economics of solar have never been more compelling — for businesses, public agencies, consumers or entrepreneurs,” said four year National Solar Tour sponsor Jyl Safier, Marketing Director for the global solar energy experts at Conergy.
“Technologies have improved, solar module prices have dropped and credit markets have loosened to the point where folks are eager to explore their solar energy options. Today, solar energy is not just good for the environment, it’s a job-creating, business-building, revenue-generating revolution whose time has come,” added Safier.
Businesses and home owners can learn more about incentives and rebates in all 50 states through the national Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE USA) at www.dsireusa.org.
Among the first to hold tours were the folks in oil-rich Alaska and Texas. Alaska’s tour takes place earlier than the majority of open houses due to unpredictable weather. Texas last year hosted five tours, the first being Austin’s annual Cool House Tour, this month featuring a stunning array of energy efficient and solar-powered homes. Studies show that for every $1 property owners invest in energy efficiency, they save $3 to $5 on the final cost of a solar energy solution. It’s the fastest and easiest way to reduce energy bills and shrink one’s carbon footprint.
“We have a common-sense saying here in Texas that energy you don’t use is energy you don’t have to pay for,” observed Lucy Stolzenburg, Executive Assistant of Cool House Tour co-presenter the Texas Solar Energy Society.
ASES coordinates the activities of all tour organizers via monthly conference calls and an interactive Web site where groups can register a tour or volunteer to help. ASES also produces posters, promotional materials and an evergreen “Get Started” guide to help tour hosts promote their tours — and to help tourists initiate their own solar solutions. Solar-(em)powered home owners and businesses can learn how to participate at www.nationalsolartour.org.
“We invite other corporations to join Conergy, Sanyo, Sun Crystals and Trina Solar as National Solar Tour sponsors to showcase the projects and demonstrate how they’re helping others harness the power of energy efficiency and solar energy to support this important grassroots effort,” said Safier. “As this year’s National Solar Tour theme suggests, there’s never been a better time to ‘Be solar inspired!’”
ABOUT THE AMERICAN SOLAR ENERGY SOCIETY: Established in 1954, the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is the nation’s leading association of solar professionals and grassroots advocates. Supported by more than 12,000 members, ASES advances research, education, and policy. ASES publishes the award-winning SOLAR TODAY magazine, presents the National Solar Conference, rallies citizens to build a Solar Nation, and leads the National Solar Tour – the world’s largest grassroots solar event. www.ases.org.
ABOUT CONERGY: In North America, Conergy supplies, manufactures, finances, designs and installs quality solar photovoltaic solutions for major commercial sectors, public agencies, businesses and home owners through two distinct channels. Conergy’s Distribution Group serves a national network of installers, developers and dealers in the grid-tied and off-grid residential realm, while also addressing the needs of small commercial markets. Conergy’s Projects Group focuses on custom solutions for large-scale enterprise and energy-intensive businesses. With operations in 16 countries over 4 continents, Conergy has successfully deployed projects totalling 1.25 Gigawatts of renewable energy capacity around the world. Learn more at www.conergy.us/