On Saturday, October 8, 2016, it was a beautiful sunny day when over 215 people attended our annual Solar Tour in 6 Kentucky cities: Berea, Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Lexington, Louisville and Northern Kentucky. Each city’s tour provided an outstanding overview of how solar works well in Kentucky, the financial value of solar and real life examples of solar in action in our communities. Each tour ended with opportunities to socialize and meet installers, and several offered opportunities to attend benefit concerts to support solar for low income housing as well. It was a sunny and shining success!
Berea (Contact: Josh Bills and Cheyenne Olsen)
This year's tour was hosted by Sustainable Berea on Saturday, September 10, to coordinate with the Celebrate the Harvest event. Over 30 participated in the Solar 101 and tour of a SENS House Ecovillage solar homes and solar greenhouse irrigation system. Following this, 13 participants rode the bus and car tours to visit homes and farms powered by solar. There was a drawing for LED lights and a free solar site assessment—the lights went to a Berea College student and the solar site assessment went to the residents at Wild Earth Farm in Estill Co. Some on the tour were aspiring solar installers and others were very interested and committed to moving forward with solar someday soon. Thank you to the Berea tour sponsors: Sustainable Berea, MACED and Solar Energy Solutions.
Bowling Green (Contact: Garrett James)
This year's tour was hosted by Solar Energy Pioneers. The tour started with a short Solar 101 presentation and then visits to several homes that take advantage of the sunny skies of southern Kentucky. We were happy to have Bowling Green on the tour this year!
Elizabethtown (Contact: David Gomez)
This year's tour was hosted by Daily Green Power. Over 10 people attended the Solar 101 presentation which shared ideas on energy efficiency, solar technology concepts, as well as the declining cost and increasing value of solar across the country. Following, the group boarded a bus to visit 6 homes and businesses that harness the sun to generate electricity. The participants appreciated the opportunity to talk to home owners and installers who could explain first hand the value of solar from the financial, environmental and social benefit perspectives. Thank you to the Elizabethtown tour sponsors: Citizens Union Bank, DermSpecialists, State Farm, Republic Bank and Swope.
Lexington (Contact: David Butler)
This year's tour was hosted by Clean Power Planet. There were over 30 people who attended the morning educational sessions. Rachel Norton of MACED kicked off the day with ideas on home energy efficiency, followed by Alex Smith of Solar Energy Solutions who gave an overview of solar concepts and then Andy McDonald shared details of solar financing and incentives. Next, the group took a bus to visit several homes with solar energy generation. Finally, the group was able to see the University of Kentucky’s Solar Car that is 100% powered by solar energy! In the evening, Solar Kentucky held a concert at The Burl to raise funds to support energy efficiency and solar panel installation on Habitat for Humanity homes. Four bands played to the delight of all that attended! It was an exciting day filled with learning, information sharing and raising money for a good cause! Thank you to the Lexington tour sponsors: Habitat for Humanity, Kentucky Housing Corporation, Clean Power Planet, Solar Energy Solutions and Wilderness Trace Solar.
Louisville (Contact: Robert Chatham)
There were over 100 people who attended the Louisville tour! The day opened with a Solar 101 presentation by Robert Chatham and Senator Morgan McGarvey sharing efforts to promote legislation that benefits energy efficiency and solar in the state of Kentucky. Following, David Huff shared information on the LG&E Demand Management and Energy Efficiency programs, followed by a homeowners panel and installers panel. It was a standing room only crowd at Bellarmine University. Then, off the group went on a guided bike tour or self-guided bike or car tour of over 40 solar powered homes and businesses! The group later met at the Apocalypse Brew Works to meet the installers and share ideas. Finally, Solar Kentucky held a benefit concert at the Haymarket Whiskey Bar to raise funds to support energy efficiency and solar panel installation on Habitat for Humanity homes. Three bands played late into the night. It was an exciting day filled with learning, information sharing and raising money for a good cause! There were many Louisville tour sponsors but to name a few: Whayne Supply Company, Solar Energy Solutions, SunWind Power Systems, Avery and Sun Solar Installations, Third Sun Solar, Chatham Energy Consulting, Graybar, Sierra Club, Solar Over Louisville and several more.
Northern Kentucky (Contact: Don Adams)
There were over 40 people who attended the Northern Kentucky tour. The day started with a solar “fair” with demonstrations of solar technology such as panels, inverters and batteries. Then, participants went on a self-guided tour to visit 3 business and 3 residential homes sporting solar. Following, the group met at the Boone County Library for a special presentation from U.S. Congressman Thomas Massie who shared his off grid life on a farm right in Northern Kentucky. In addition, the group received a short presentation from Solar Energy Solutions on solar basics. The group later met at the Lucky Duck Pub to meet the installers and share ideas. Thank you to the Northern Kentucky tour sponsor Solar Energy Solutions.