Free public Tour of Solar Places set for Oct. 5

October 2, 2013

Staff Report

The Illinois Renewable Energy Association’s (IREA) free Tour of Solar Places will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5.

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 will be answered by home and building owners with solar PV and other renewable energy installations during the Tour of Solar Places in north central Illinois.

Following are Solar Tour participants (from south to north):

• Bob and Sherry Piros, 4584 S. Chana Road, Chana, Ill. — 5 kW PV system on barn; smart meter. Restored prairie; natural areas.

• Victor and Polly Zaderej, 3588 S. Daysville Road, Oregon, Ill. — Super-insulated “1-watt” house built on German Passivhaus principles; solar PV; earth tube.

• Bob and Sonia Vogl, 1230 E. Honey Creek Road, Oregon, Ill. — Hybrid grid-connected photovoltaic and wind power system with battery backup; stand-alone (cabin-type) photovoltaic installation. Solar greenhouse and hoop house. More than 40 acres of native and restored prairie and woodland.

• Kickapoo Nature Center, 1919 N. Limekiln Road, Oregon, Ill. — Super-insulated “1-watt” building built on German Passivhaus principles. Includes earth tube. Heating from roof monitored by Oak Ridge Lab. 10 a.m. to noon only.

• David Merrill, 139 Perene, Byron, Ill. — Hybrid photovoltaic and wind power system with battery backup. Solar installer.

• Keith and Mary Blackmore, 9024 West Grove Road, Forreston, Ill. — Ground-mounted photovoltaic system, super-insulated house and greenhouse.

• Willem and Claudia Dijstebergen, 8730 N. Triumph Road, Leaf River, Ill. — 3kW PV system, outdoor wood furnace. Much of the work assembled by the owner.

• Freedom Field, run by Winnebago County, 3333 S. Kishwaukee St., Rockford — Nonprofit organization formed to facilitate the development and operation of renewable energy center. Integrated systems including solar heating and cooling, solar PV, vertical and horizontal wind generators, green prairie roof and training/experiment stations.

For more about the Tour of Solar Places, contact Bob or Sonia Vogl at (815) 732-7332.

From the Oct. 2-8, 2013, issue

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