Tripling the Reach of the National Solar Tour

a solar-powered house on the Nation Solar Tour
A solar-powered house … One of the stops along the Nation Solar Tour.
MSB Energy Associates / NREL

With 648 community solar tours registered to date, momentum is building to make the 2010 American Solar Energy Society National Solar Tour the most successful grassroots solar event in history, engaging tens of thousands of solar-interested citizens across 48 states. The 648 tours featured in this year’s National Solar Tour is nearly triple the number of tours featured in 2009, and more communities continue to join the movement each week. Last year, 150,000 people across 49 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico participated.

The 15th Annual American Solar Energy Society (ASES) National Solar Tour features open house tours of thousands of solar-powered homes, businesses, and public agencies. It’s neighbors introducing solar-hungry neighbors to the technologies they are using to slash monthly energy bills, reduce environmentally harmful carbon emissions, assert their energy independence, and enjoy rich tax credits and cash incentives as they improve their property values.

Among the menu of solar solutions showcased in this year’s National Solar Tour are investments that have helped a couple beat Wall Street with their green ROI, an Iraqi war veteran now fighting in the renewable revolution, solar-powered homes, schools, public agencies, condo complexes — and businesses that run the gamut from solar-powered poultry farms to funeral homes.

“Interest in the solar industry is cooking, and consumers across the nation are eager to sample its wares, which bring enticing tax credits, cash rebates, improved property values, and cleaner communities to home and business owners across America,” said ASES National Solar Tour Manager Richard Burns.

Forty eight states and Washington, D.C. are now represented on this year’s tour, which affords citizens the opportunity to tour solar-powered homes and businesses from Alaska to Florida. The bulk of the tours take place on or about October 2, 2010. The two states missing in action are North Dakota and West Virginia. Word of the tour’s inherent value in educating the public on energy issues has transcended international borders. This year, Mexico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are hosting their first solar tours and Puerto Rico is back for its fourth island-wide tour.

Burns says as technologies have evolved, so have the diversity and sophistication of the solutions showcased on the tour. But it is the practical, grassroots approach of the people behind the tours that have made this event such a hit across America. The self-guided and bus-hosted tours are organized by grassroots organizations and solar installers throughout the country. Many tours are free; some tour hosts are non-profits and may request a donation.

Established in 1954, the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is the nation’s leading association of solar professionals and grassroots advocates. Supported by more than 12,000 members, ASES advances research, education, and policy. ASES publishes the award-winning SOLAR TODAY magazine, presents the National Solar Conference, rallies citizens to build a Solar Nation, and leads the National Solar Tour – the world’s largest grassroots solar event.

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