Solar Feature: National solar tours part 2

“We have the largest tour,” proclaimed Bill Sprately, executive director of Green Energy Ohio, which organized the 2010 Ohio Solar Tour. But Mother Nature, although the benefactor of solar energy, wasn’t handing out any favors for the tour.

“The weather was about as bad as it could get. It was down in the 40s and windy,” he said. “The weather might have dampened our attendance, but not our enthusiasm.”

And despite the weather, he said results already are showing there were good turnouts at some sites.

A unique feature of the Ohio solar tour is that “people can customize their own tour on the map,” Sprately said. The Green Energy Ohio web site allowed people to make a map for their tour based on time of day and how far they wanted to travel.

Green Energy Ohio is studying the effect of the solar tour on people’s decision to go solar under a state grant, Sprately said.

“A lot of our information is anecdotal,” he explained. The study should provide more solid evidence of how effective the solar tours are in helping people adopt solar technologies.

With 242 sites this year, the number of homes and businesses that opened their doors to Ohio’s tour-goers increased by about 45 percent over the 168 sites last year, Sprately said. He added that 45 of 88 Ohio counties had participating sites for visitors this year. Last year they had about 5,600 people go to at least one home. Another potential factor that might have increased attendance this year is state grants for solar in Ohio, which, according to Sprately, are set to expire later this year.

The success of these and other events across the country are an important bellwether in the battle to get more people interested in the benefits of solar technology. As more people adopt solar and others become increasingly interested in solar technologies, the National Solar Tour will continue to educate the public on the best ways to adopt solar.

Pictured: While potential solar shoppers peruse the home, Donna felt like this was a grand opportunity to take a nap on the front porch.