Tour solar homes-Oct. 4

What’s it like to produce your own electricity from the sun and the wind? To live with an independent energy system? Do you need to change your lifestyle? Will the system change the appearance of your home, or can it be blended into the design of your building? What does it cost? How much upkeep is needed? These and other questions were addressed last spring in a series of TRRT columns on home energy installations. Now, anyone interested can have a firsthand experience with these installations. For the third consecutive year, Ogle County residents will open their homes and buildings to the public for the annual Tour of Solar Places on Oct. 4. This year, Winnebago County will participate in the tour. Six sites will be open between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (unless otherwise noted). Everyone is invited to view these energy-saving installations. Sites open, from south to north: n Bruce and Joyce Papiech, south side of Sublette Road between Sublette and Dry Gulch Road (south of Amboy): The largest residential grid-connected solar photovoltaic installation in the state of Illinois; 50 kilowatt commercial, privately owned system. n Jim Koehlert, 7834 Hoosier Rd., Ashton: Both a 2.8 kilowatt photovoltaic system and a 1.0 kilowatt wind generator mounted on a recycled 60 foot water pumping tower. Also outdoor wood burning furnace. n Bob & Sonia Vogl, 1230 E. Honey Creek Rd., Oregon: Two photovoltaic installations. One is a grid-connected combination of a 1.536-KW amorphous cell system and a 1.6-KW polycrystalline system. The second is a small stand-alone system, suitable for cabin installation, which provides power to a small outbuilding. n Melanie Madsen, Oregon: Solar pv on turn of the last century house. For directions, ask Vogls on tour day or by phone. n Bob Akers, 7460 Rt. 64 West, Mt. Morris: Solar pv; wind; solar hot water; corn stove (all small installations). n David Merrill, 139 Perene, Byron: Merrill runs his entire home on a hybrid photovoltaic and wind power system that he installed himself. This is the ultimate in independent electricity production. n Dan Woodford, 2412 Lindbergh Drive, Rockford: 2.8 KW of solar PV installed on a garage demonstrates that it can be done in a big city. Woodford installed most of his system himself, inventing techniques as he progressed (10 to noon only). Local tour coordinators are Bob and Sonia Vogl,, Oregon, Ill., 815-732-7332.

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