Ohio Solar tours this weekend, more than 50 sites included; The Plain Dealer; September 26, 2017 | Sustainability | Kent State University

Ohio Solar tours this weekend, more than 50 sites included; The Plain Dealer; September 26, 2017

By John Funk, The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND -- Energy independence and less costly energy are two of the themes of the 17th annual Green Energy Ohio fall solar tour this coming weekend.

There are guided tours and open houses in Greater Cleveland, Akron, Kent and Oberlin featuring solar electric arrays, battery backup systems, solar thermal systems to heat water and "passive solar" systems to add heat to a home.

Consumers can stop any time at open houses to talk to homeowners who have installed solar and other technologies, including wind turbines and geothermal heating,  and who have retrofitted their homes to make them more energy efficient.

The all-day open houses are also designed to give the public "a glimpse at how a variety of solar systems look in and around structures with different architectural styles," Green Energy Ohio's flyer notes.

The three-day event "shows families and businesses real-life examples of how their neighbors are harnessing free energy from the sun to generate electricity, warm and cool their homes, heat water and slash monthly utility bills," said Jane Harf, GEO executive director, in a release.

And at least four of the homeowners on the Greater Cleveland tours are powering their electric cars with electricity generated by their home solar arrays.

One is engineer Tom Rapini of Mentor who has been driving an electric car since 1993.

He argues that anyone who owns or is buying a home solar array today should also consider buying a plug-in electric car because not having to buy gasoline will speed up the "break-even" point for the cost of the array.

The IRS is offering a tax credit of up to $7,500 on plug-in electric cars, but that could diminish in 2018 or 2019 as more electric cars are sold.  The amount of the credit is specific to each make of car.

The guided tours require advance registration. 

In Greater Cleveland, three free guided bus tours have been planned. Homes, schools, businesses, a police station and at least one church are among the stops. Each tour includes a free box lunch. The six-hour bus trips will occur Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Advance reservations must be made by calling 440-231-0842.

Oberlin, Kent and Akron are also offering guided tours.

The Akron event beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday features five sites. It includes lunch and a seat on a trolley for the first 60 who sign up by calling 330-275-2550, extension 7310.

The Oberlin event begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and includes a shuttle service, but space will be limited. Online registration is required.

The Kent event is scheduled for 1 p.m to 4 p.m. Sunday and includes sites on the Kent State University campus as well as in the city of Kent.

Green Energy Ohio has organized similar tours throughout the state.  

Solar tours will be happening throughout the nation this weekend  and through October as well.

The American Solar Energy Society is sponsoring its 22nd annual solar tour during the month of October. The events will be held in more than 60 locations and involve an estimated 30,000 people.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Monday, February 12, 2018 - 10:24am