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Six local homes on Solar Tour this Saturday

Six local homes and buildings will be open for visitors who are interested in renewable energy and energy efficiency for the annual north central Illinois Solar Tour on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Buildings will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and owners will be available to discuss their systems and answer questions for all but one system.

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.

Site son this year’s tour, from south to north, are:

• Bob and Sonia Vogl, 1230 E. Honey Creek Rd.,Oregon, (815-732-7332): Hybrid grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) and wind power system with battery backup; three separate PV installations; stand alone (cabin type) photovoltaic installation. Hoophouse for winter greens. Wood heat using wood collected from the property. Woodland and prairie restorations. Tour organizers.

• Kickapoo Nature Center, 1919 N. Limekiln Rd., Oregon: Super insulated “one-watt” building built on German Passivhaus principles. Includes earth tube. 

• David Merrill, 139 Perene, Byron, (815-234-2530): Two systems: hybrid photovoltaic and wind power system with battery backup and grid tied, east - west six kilowatt solar system.

• Bruce Roe, 5719 E. Skinner Rd., Stillman Valley (815-234-8039): 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 kilowatt hours, attempts to construct solar panels, and more.

• Just Goods, Lee Schreiner, 201 Seventh St., Rockford (815-965-8903): Eight kilowatt photovoltaicsystem; visitors can read what is currently being produced and what has been produced. No tour leader available.

• Klaus and Teri 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 LEDs). Added insulation and modern windows. Wood heat providing 50 percent of heating. Rain water collection for plant watering.

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

Visit for information on more events.

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