NASA Solar Technology Tour
The Fourth Annual Ohio Solar Tour begins this coming weekend. Hosted by NASA, the tour includes 19 main events and a free tour of the NASA Glenn Research Center. While the event will deal primarily with solar energy topics, there will be some wind power exhibits. Participants will receive updates about renewable energy grants and tax incentives as part of the Ohio Department of Development’s campaign to promote alternative energy technologies. The bus tour highlights include visits to local renewable energy housing projects and facilities.
Thousands of people are expected to participate in the fourth annual Ohio Solar Tour this weekend.
The tour is a cluster of 19 events that begin Friday morning with a paid tour of the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. The events end Sunday evening in other parts of the state.
Most are on Saturday, including the Toledo-Bowling Green area’s free guided bus tour and pair of open houses.
The NASA tour, which costs $15 for Green Energy Ohio members and $50 for nonmembers, is one of the only events that require a fee. It is restricted to American citizens.
Northwest Ohio’s tour is from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The area’s two open houses are from noon to 6 p.m.
Box lunches are available for $5 for tour participants. Personal vehicles may be used in lieu of riding on the bus, but sites cannot be visited outside of the listed times.
The region has the most diverse offerings, Bill Spratley, Green Energy Ohio executive director, said.
Industry is represented in northwest Ohio by Phoenix-based First Solar LLC‘s area plant in Perrysburg Township.
Academia is represented by Crim Elementary School in Bowling Green and Owens Community College’s Center for Development and Training Building. The homeowner experience will be provided by Holland’s Al Compaan, Maumee’s Rob Collins, Elmore’s Jerry Geisler, Curtice’s Ralph Semrock, and Decker Homes. Representing the faith community will be Sylvania United Church of Christ. Athletics will be touched upon briefly with a drive-by look at the solar panels atop Bowling Green State University’s ice arena roof.
Not all sites are exclusively solar. Some, such as the Semrock and Geisler residences, plus the AMP-Ohio/Green Mountain Energy utility-scale wind turbines west of Bowling Green, either include or focus upon wind power.
For details, see Green Energy Ohio’s Web site at www.greenenergyohio.org or call the University of Toledo’s Joe Perlaky at 419-356-4847.
Green Energy Ohio does the tours in cooperation with the American Solar Energy Society and the national group’s affiliated chapters.
“It’s our strongest tour ever statewide,” Mr. Spratley said. “The Solar Tour is kind of like our Parade of Homes.”
Participants will get updates on alternative-energy tax incentives and grants, including those offered by the Ohio Department of Development.
Offerings in central Ohio include a tour of the Governor’s Residence, 358 North Parkway Ave., Columbus, where Gov. Bob Taft and his wife, Hope, have solar panels for supplemental power.
Mr. Perlaky, a Green Energy Ohio board member and UT alternative energy systems program manager, said the events “bring the technology to the community.”
“It allows the community to touch, feel, and see what’s available for them,” he said.
Nearly 500 people participated in northwest Ohio’s events last year, with 55 on the first-ever guided bus tour. About twice as many are expected on this area’s bus tour, with overall participation for this region expected to swell beyond 700, Mr. Perlaky said.
Highlights include the Compaan residence, which draws little electricity from the grid.
It is featured in this year’s Ohio Renewable Energy magazine produced for the statewide tour.
Mr. Compaan, a University of Toledo physics professor, has energy-saving appliances and 96 solar panels. He has made his 1984 pickup into an electric automobile. The vehicle’s array of batteries is recharged by solar power generated by the house. But Mr. Compaan also can reverse the current so that, if necessary, the truck’s batteries can power the house for up to five days.
» Source: Toledo Blade