Solar tour Sept. 22

On September 22, the annual north central Illinois Solar Tour will be held.

Five homes will be open for visitors who are interested in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Owners will be available to discuss their systems and answer questions for all but one system.

Buildings will be open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The tour is free and open to the public. No advance registration is required. Visitors simply stop at the homes that are of interest to them – one or all.

Sites on this year’s tour, from south to north, are:

* Bob and Sherry Piros, 4585 S. Chana Rd., Chana, IL (732-7020): PV system; geothermal heating and cooling.

* Bob and Sonia Vogl, 1230 E. Honey Creek Rd., Oregon, (732-7332):  Hybrid grid connected photovoltaic and wind power system with battery backup; three separate PV installations; standalone (cabin type) photovoltaic installation. Hoop house for winter greens. Wood heat using wood collected from the property. Woodland and prairie restorations. Tour organizers.

* David Merrill, 139 Perene, Byron, (234-2530):  Two systems: hybrid photovoltaic and wind power system with battery backup and grid tied, east - west 6 kW solar system. Also corn stove and Chevy Bolt all electric car (EV) charged solely by solar power made at home.

* Bruce Roe, 5719 E. Skinner Rd., Stillman Valley (234-8039): Photovoltaic system with two installations to test production in relation to time of use: one facing south; one facing east and west. Projects include eliminating wasted kWh. The ground mount solar generates ALL the house heat and electricity, ZERO carbon footprint. It is customized for northern IL conditions. Also visible is the high tech heat pump system.  

* Klaus and Teri Hoffman, 8232 Pueblo Dr., Rockford, (815-721-4490) Solar hot water using evacuated tubes, provides ~75 percent of hot water needs, since 2007. Photovoltaics providing more electricity than actually used, now gridtied, started as a backup system more than 10 years ago. Only efficient lighting (mostly LEDs). Added insulation and modern windows. Wood heat providing 50 percent of heating. Rain water collection for plant watering.

The north central Illinois Solar Tour is hosted by the Illinois Renewable Energy Association as a public service. IREA is a non-profit 501©(3) organization.

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