By Robert and Sonia Vogl
President and Vice President,
Illinois Renewable Energy Association
On Saturday, the annual north central Illinois Solar Tour will be held. Six homes and buildings 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.
All but one home, which will be open from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 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 Road, Chana (815-732-7020): large photovoltaic system on barn roof; new house with geothermal heating and cooling; prairie restorations.
- Bob and Sonia Vogl, 1230 E. Honey Creek Road, Oregon, (815-732-7332): Hybrid grid connected photovoltaic and wind power system with battery backup; three separate PV installations; stand alone (cabin type) photovoltaic installation. Solar greenhouse and hoop house. Wood heat using wood collected from the property. Woodland and prairie restorations. Tour organizers.
- David Merrill, 139 Perene, Byron, (815-234-2530): Hybrid photovoltaic and wind power system with battery backup. PV and wind installer. Might be drive-by only.
- Bruce Roe, 5719 E. Skinner Road, Stillman Valley (815-234-8039): Photovoltaic system with 2 installations to test production in relation to time of use: one facing south; one facing east and west. Projects include eliminating wasted kWh, attempts to construct solar panels, and more. Open until 1 p.m.
- JustGoods, Lee Schreiner, 201 7th St., Rockford (815965-8903): 8 kW photovoltaic system; visitors can read what is currently being produced and what has been produced.
- Klaus Hoffman, 8232 Pueblo Drive, 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 grid-tied, started as a backup system more than 10 years ago. Only efficient lighting (mostly LED). 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.
Follow them on illinoisrenew.org for information on more events.